Little-known Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD – who lists Warren Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors, as a part owner – is seeking government approval to supply its batteries to Ford's Chinese enterprise.
In a document posted on the Chinese Ministry of Information Technology's website earlier this week, it reveals the first known battery supply deal between BYD and a major car manufacturer.
Ford's Chinese operations are a joint venture with Changan Automobiles. Chinese law states that all foreign companies establishing business operations within the country must be done so in partnership with a local company.
It's expected that Changan Ford will offer more than ten electric vehicles to the Chinese market.
This information comes to light after BYD recently established a joint venture with Toyota. The two companies announced they would combine their expertise to co-produce electric vehicles. The relationship also extends to Hino, Toyota's heavy commercial arm.
BYD has Australia in its sights
In May 2019 BYD announced it would be partnering with Evant to bring BYD's passenger cars to market in Australia.
Christian Reynolds, CEO of Evant, said at the time he hoped to bring car manufacturing back to South Australia. Reynolds was previously head of the director of manufacturing operations for Tesla.
In a separate deal back in June 2019, BYD partnered with Australian companies Nextport and Macquarie to bring electric commercial heavy vehicles to Australian shores.
Warren Buffett's Electric Dream
BYD is one of China's largest privately-owned companies. Warren Buffett's investment firm Berkshire Hathaway invested a 25% stake in BYD back in 2008, with some estimating the return on that investment to be more than a billion dollars.
Despite a slump caused by the pandemic, BYD has said the company is still expecting a 25% net rise in profits for the first quarter.
Though major deals with Ford and Toyota will have helped, much of the growth can be attributed to significant measures by the Chinese government to subsidise the sale of locally-made electric vehicles. No less than thirteen policies have been enacted by provinces and the central government since February.
BYD eyes European debut
These developments come at an exciting time for the Chinese automaker, with their first European passenger car to debut in late 2020. In May BYD announced it would be releasing the Tang EV600 in Norway, due to the country enjoying the greatest number of electric vehicles per capita in the world.
The Tang EV600 is a fully electric compact SUV with a range of 520 kilometres, the same as a Tesla Model 3 Long Range. The EV600 reportedly accelerates to 100km/h in 4.4, or roughly in line with BMW M5 and HSV GTS models that were on sale only four years ago.