BYD, the Chinese manufacturer of electric cars and plug in hybrids, will establish a U.S. presence in Los Angeles. The facility will serve as a North American headquarters for R&D, sales, and marketing. Vehicle manufacturing will take place in China for the time being, although speculation has BYD announcing a manufacturing facility in California later this year.
BYD expects to create 150 new jobs in Los Angeles over the next 18 months as it begins to establish a U.S. presence. Berkshire Hathaway, owned by investor Warren Buffet, has a ten percent ownership stake in the Chinese company, and BYD recently partnered with Daimler to develop an electric powered Smart car for the Chinese market.
BYD’s first major launch is expected to be the e6 crossover, a four door, five passenger plug-in electric vehicle that claims a range of 250 miles per charge and a top speed of 87 miles per hour. It’s battery pack uses a proprietary iron phosphate technology that can be quick-charged to 50% of capacity in only ten minutes, making it more attractive than conventional EVs that typically require overnight charging. Project Evie, an ambitious attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an electric car, is expected to utilize the BYD e6 in their quest.