Among the revelations in Fortune magazine's feature on our old friend Chairman Wang Chaun-Fu, founder and CEO of BYD Auto: he offered an American exec a glass of battery fluid. Then he drank it himself.
We're glad to see other publications take seriously a story we've been reporting for over a year — since our first BYD test drive. BYD received an investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and has already developed multiple hybrid and electric cars. As a way of proving the non-toxicity of his newly-developed battery, the Chairman drank a glass of the electrolyte fluid from a battery in front of David Sokol, CEO of one of the largest utilities in the United States. From the article:
When David Sokol toured BYD's operations last summer, Wang took him to a battery factory and explained that BYD wants to make its batteries 100% recyclable. To that end, the company has developed a nontoxic electrolyte fluid. To underscore the point, Wang poured battery fluid into a glass and drank it. "Doesn't taste good," he said, making a face and offering a sip to Sokol.
Sokol declined politely. But he got the message. "His focus there was that if we're going to help solve environmental problems, we can't create new environmental problems with our technology," Sokol says.
It's a good story and it indicates what we've learned about Chaun-Fu: he believes in his product. The rest of the story highlights some of the advantages the company faces and the challenges still ahead. [Fortune]