With Make in India, BYD looks to make country EV hub for the region

V Rishi Kumar | Updated on December 17, 2019 Published on December 16, 2019

BYD has made big strides with its lithium ion batteries: some of its latest cars in the Tang range are capable of running 600 km/ charge

Plans launch of pure electric passenger vehicles

BYD Co Limited, the diversified business conglomerate based in Shenzhen, China, is on expansion mode in India through the ‘Make in India’ drive.

It is in the process of stepping up its engagement in India in the entire electric mobility chain and electronics, while also seeking to transform it as a hub for the region.

The company is evaluating the possibility of introducing pure electric passenger vehicles and exploring business prospect for rail transit.

Build Your Dreams, set up in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in 1995, has made its India entry with a tie up with Olectra Greentech (Goldstone) for supply of electric buses. It is now looking at expanding its manufacturing base in Chennai, where it manufacturers electric buses. During this correspondent’s recent visit to BYD headquarters in Shenzhen, and its facilities, Zhang Jie Ketsu, Executive Director of BYD India, said the company has made India a strategic market by not only offering its products and solutions, including offerings in the electric mobility space, but also wants to turn it into a hub for the region.

The company, which is into electric mobility spanning various applications, electric buses, cars, elevated rail, trucks, cargo vehicles, forklifts and lithium ion battery packs, is looking at offering its electric mobility in a solutions form for not only transport and logistics businesses but also for energy back up management.

During a tour of the company research and development centres; and manufacturing units for cars, forklifts and lithium ion battery packs for electric vehicles, new energy solutions and various other applications, company executives explained how it has grown to be a leading cutting-edge solutions provider for the entire electric mobility business. In the Chennai manufacturing facility, located on a 35 acre site, the company plans to expand to manufacture electric buses by almost tripling the capacity and stepping up its battery assembly line.

A $20-billion company

BYD, which has grown over the years with a combination of organic growth and some strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of an automotive manufacturer, now is a major player in China offering its electric mobility solutions. It has grown to be a $20-billion company, employing over 2,20,000 people with facilities in several countries, including the US and Europe.

It has more than 214 of its made-in-India electric buses deployed across at least six cities, including the hilly tracts of Manali in Himachal, the busy roads of Mumbai and in Hyderabad (as part of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation fleet, providing connectivity to the airport). It is betting big on the upcoming opportunities under the Indian government’s FAME II policy.

Zhang said the company was engaged in talks with several players and believes that the best way to expand its business is by collaborating and entering into strategic engagements. “These days, while businesses compete with one another, they also engage with competitors sharing knowhow and technologies. We work closely with Daimler,” he said.

Over the years, the company has made big strides with its lithium ion batteries: some of its latest cars in the Tang range are capable of running 600 km per charge.

It has launched a four-seater electric vehicle in India as also electric forklifts. It is evaluating bringing in other models as well to India. Having introduced T3 MPV and T3 Mini Van series in India, it is conducting feasibility studies for other models as well.

(The author was in Shenzhen at the invitation of BYD.)

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Published on December 16, 2019
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