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Below: The BYD e6 is an all-electric compact crossover/compact MPV manufactured by BYD Auto with a range of 300km (186 miles).

40 MakingIt

➤ in gasoline engines,” said Wang in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2009, “But with electric vehicles, we’re all at the same starting line.” The concept of an electric vehicle has been around for more than a century. But, so far, it has failed to become mainstream, in large part because the batteries have been too heavy, bulky and costly. For years, the lithiumion battery was believed to hold the most promise since it could store enough energy in a small space and recharge in short time, but safety issues have restrained the production. So, the key determinant in winning this new game is perfecting the battery, and that is where BYD’s core technological advantage lies. The company’s technicians spent more than 10 years developing a new ironphosphate technology that makes its lithium-ion battery safer than other models. The BYD lithium-ion phosphate battery is said to be fire- and water-proof, and stable in both cold and hot conditions. And it can be recharged very fast. For example, the battery on a BYD e6 car – a model unveiled in 2008, can be charged to 80%, within 15 minutes and to 100% after 40 minutes. Moreover, the battery is environmentally friendly since it is composed of raw materials that can be recycled. Taking advantage of years of experience in battery technology, BYD has been quick to take centre stage on the new energy auto market. According to year-end figures released by the company, it sold a total of

over 60,000 electric vehicles last year – more than any other manufacturer. BYD is now one of China’s largest auto companies, and it has also made a splash on the international market. So far, the company has exported China-made buses to countries including the USA, Holland, Spain, Germany, Canada and Brazil. It is also planning to set up a new factory in Europe and two plants in California to supply electric buses. Taking the podium at the UN’s 2014 Climate Summit, Wang stressed the importance of electrifying the public transportation fleets, reiterating that transportation was responsible for nearly a fourth of the world’s carbon emissions, and a fifth of its fuel consumption. He also joined other transportation thought-leaders in discussing the UN’s Urban Electric Mobility Initiative, which focused on implementing policy and raising funds to electrify 30% of all urban vehicles by 2030. “To help achieve this goal, BYD will assume the responsibility of solving the dilemma we currently face with lack of global production capabilities in industrial

Making It: Industry for Development #21  

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