BYD EV Buses Get German Toehold 比亚迪电动车在德国找到立足点

After a few months of silence from BYD (HKEx: 1211), the electric vehicle aspirant backed by US billionaire Warren Buffett has announced a new pilot program to test out its electric buses in the German city of Frankfurt. (company announcement) While any new orders for its electric vehicles outside China are certainly good news for BYD, a closer look at this latest deal is hardly anything to get excited about. The pilot program in Germany, already known for its willingness to try just about anything with the word “green” in it, involves a total of three electric buses and two charging stations, which no doubt BYD is supplying free of charge or at very very very reduced costs. The buses won’t even be riding around Frankfurt on regular routes, but will be mostly confined to use as airport shuttles. The highly limited scope of this arrangement shows just how tough a time BYD will face in getting its electric vehicles into Western markets. Instead, the company’s best shot really lies in its home market of Shenzhen, a major Chinese metropolis, where the local government has already shown itself willing to act as a major backer for BYD’s electric dreams by building out major charging and other infrastructure to showcase and promote this technology, if it’s even worth showcasing at all. My guess is that this Frankfurt program won’t go too far, due to charging infrastructure limitations and high maintenance costs. But if BYD provides enough incentives, perhaps this could be the beginning of a deeper relationship down the road, though don’t look for profits from this or any similar overseas tie-ups anytime soon.

Bottom line: BYD’s new EV bus pilot program in Germany is largely a PR ploy, unlikely to yield any major business for BYD anytime soon.

在经历了数月的沉默後,比亚迪<1211.HK>宣布了一项新的电动车试点项目,准备在德国法兰克福使用其生产的电动巴士。尽管任何来自中国本土以外的电动车新订单对比亚迪都肯定是好事,但若进一步观察这项最新协议,你会发现其实没什麽可高兴的。在德国的这个试点项目涉及三辆电动公车和两座充电车站,无疑,比亚迪将提供免费充电服务或以象征性收点儿钱,而众所周知德国很愿意测试任何与“绿色”有关的新技术。这几辆电动车基本不会沿常规路线环绕法兰克福,主要用作机场穿梭巴士。严格限定其使用范围也显示出,比亚迪在将其电动车打入西方市场的过程中将面临多大的困难。相反,比亚迪的优势还是在中国深圳,当地政府已有意支持比亚迪实现其电动车之梦,例如修建充电和其他基础设施,以展示和推广该技术。我个人认为,受累于充电设施有限和高昂的维护成本,这个法兰克福计划不会走太远。但如果比亚迪提供足够的刺激措施,可或许是该计划更为深入的开始,尽管比亚迪不要指望能很快从类似的海外合作中获利。

一句话:比亚迪在德国新的电动车试点项目在很大程度上是一个公关项目,不太可能会在短期内为比亚迪带来任何重大利润。

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