First published on the Cleantech Investor website, July 2014
BYD Company Ltd is set to become the first Chinese battery manufacturer to open a plant in Brazil, in a clear indication that the country (historically a leader in ethanol biofuel) aims to adopt electric vehicles. BYD signed a contract in the presence of both China's President Xi Jinping and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, during the BRIC Summit in Brasilia. According to Apex-Brasil President, Mr. Mauricio Borges, Brazil is at a critical point in its history when it must adopt renewable energy technologies (Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, structured the deal with BYD).
BYD will produce Iron-Phosphate batteries in a 1.5 million square metre factory. The plant will support BYD's recently announced electric bus factory, which is being constructed in Campinas, São Paulo. The Campinas plant will manufacture the BYD ebus and will also contain a research and development facility.
The announcement brings the investment in Brazil by BYD, one of China’s largest companies, to US$400 million. BYD is backed by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's investment company.