The founder and head of the world’s biggest rechargeable battery supplier and new energy vehicle manufacturer, China’s BYD Co, expects the size of the world’s electric vehicle market to treble in the coming year.
Wang Chuan-fu, who accepted the Zayed Future Energy Prize at the World Future Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on Monday, says the growing push towards battery storage and electric vehicles will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. “They point the way to the future,” he said through an interpreter after the award ceremony.
It is the second time the company has won the award. Although little known in Australia, it is a reflection of the esteem in which it is held by those in the known. Warren Buffet is one of the investors in a company that is said to use an acronym of the phrase Build Your Dreams.
BYD has taken orders for its electric buses from two Australian cities, and is looking at the US and UK and European market for electric buses and the Japanese and other markets for home battery storage, but it is China that it is clearly its biggest market.
Wang said that the EV market is growing “very fast”, a development that enabled it to become the number one EV maker in the world, outpointing Nissan and Mitsubishi with more than 43,000 units until the end of October.
“Every year will double for next three years,” Wang said when asked about the size of the market.
BYD does not see itself as a competitor to Tesla, with Wang noting that Tesla is concentrating at the high end, while BYD is looking at mass-market models.
“This is not about competiton. The market is so huge, it needs more people’s participation in the market. Tesla is targeting high end, there is a bit of an overlap, but we are focusing on electric cars and buses in different markets.
BYD is also looking at the home battery storage system, and has launched a product in Australia. But Japan is the big market for the moment, given it is also the biggest market for rooftop solar. It is installing a utility-scale battery storage system to help take the California city of Lancaster towards 100 per cent renewables.
BYD was founded in 1995 in Shenzhen, China. Its business platform has been based around its development of the BYD iron-phosphate battery.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.