Who are BYD? The answer, the company was founded in 1995 and, with Chinese state backing, has grown to become a major manufacturer of of a suite of products from full-electric and hybrid cars, buses, trucks, etc.), battery-powered bicycles, forklift, solar panels and rechargeable batteries (mobile phone batteries, electric vehicle batteries and renewable bulk storage).
The typical BYD car sold in China is rather forgettable, similar to Mitsubishi with a much bigger product portfolio. BYD began making rechargeable batteries before it went on a path to diversification. Over the years BYD has established itself as one of the biggest manufacturers of electric car batteries. This is where Tesla enters into the picture.
On Chinese state-run media BYD’s executive vice president, Lian Yu-bo made the following statement:
“We are good friends with Elon Musk and we are preparing to supply batteries to Tesla.”
Chinese state-run TV is tightly controlled, any statement made by corporate executives are carefully worded. The large Chinese conglomerates, such as BYD, are effectively owned and funded by the Chinese state. To that end, the above statement made by Lain Yu-bo would have been vetted by a government official.
Tesla and BYD opened discussions about partnering up for a battery supply deal over a year ago. However, neither Tesla nor BYD has confirmed or denied talks taking place. Tesla currently manufactures batteries inhouse. Partnering with BYD would allow Tesla to increase vehicle production and lessen the burden placed on making batteries.
After the announcement, BYD’s share price rose by 13 percent on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Was the BYD announcement purely gameplay to increase short-term stock value? Or is Tesla considering a battery supply deal with BYD? Neither organisation has confirmed or denied the speculation.