Buffett Buys Stake in Chinese Battery, Electric Car Maker

David Sokol, the chairman of MidAmerican, said that Berkshire Hathaway wanted to address climate change and considered electric cars as a way to do so.

Published: 01-Oct-2008

HONG KONG — The investor Warren E. Buffett announced on Monday that he had agreed to buy a 9.89 percent stake in a Chinese battery manufacturer that plans to sell electric cars in the United States by 2010.

The MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, will pay 1.8 billion Hong Kong dollars — about $230 million — for the stake in the battery maker, the BYD Company. Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 87.4 percent of MidAmerican.

Based in Shenzhen, a mainland Chinese city adjacent to Hong Kong, BYD is one of the world’s largest makers of rechargeable batteries for cellphones and other uses. The company also has a fast-growing auto-making unit that accounts for nearly a third of its revenue and makes fuel-efficient compact and subcompact cars for the Chinese market.


Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.

The Air Car may do better than fuel-cell cars, but experts say that using grid power to charge a battery-powered electric vehicle is much more efficient than using electricity to compress and store the same amount of energy in a tank.


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