Though BYD Auto made a big show of their own fleet of electric vehicles, their hard-to-believe battery technology is more likely to end up in your driveway under the hood of a domestic.
The "ferrous oxide" battery technology developed by BYD, if it lives up to their own somewhat fantastic claims of 250 miles on a full charge, is far superior to anything currently being delivered or promised by an automaker. In fact, the closest anyone has come to offering similar technology is a claim by Chrysler regarding their Dodge Circuit EV. In their press release they state the EV should achieve "zero tailpipe emissions and 150-200 mile driving range" if it comes to production.
While BYD hopes to sell their F3DM, F6DM and E6 vehicles into North America, the company has admitted they're happy to license their technology to automakers. We spoke with David Sokol, CEO of MidAmerican Holding Company, the Warren Buffett-owned subsidiary who purchased a 10% stake in BYD based on their capabilities. As MidAmerican is one of the largest commercial electric suppliers and biggest holders of renewable energies, the partnership with BYD made sense for MidAmerican.
But in speaking with Mr. Sokol he was frank in explaining the partnership which will bring BYD technology to the market the quickest is one with another automaker and, according to him, they've been speaking with domestic and foreign companies for approximately four months. They won't divulge who they're speaking with, but we'd like to point out Chrysler President Tom Lasorda was seen hanging around the BYD announcement this morning.
There are two main reasons for doing this. First, another manufacturer would be able to utilize their own existing production capacity and dealer network to create and package the cars. Second, as Sokol admitted, the fit-and-finish of their vehicles is probably the largest shortcoming. This was highlighted by the fact they had him doing interviews in front of a sign for BYD with the company's "Build Your Dreams" tagline written out in script with the first "r" missing. Our awesome videographer Kyle Conner fixes it for him at one point, which is hilarious.
While we can't be for sure whose dream it is to have BYD design them a battery pack, but we've already described the vehicle from Chrysler as fantasies.