If BYD is not on your radar, they should be. BYD is a leading Chinese auto manufacturer, backed by Warren Buffett (who’s worth 95 billion). You know what they say – be progressive, buy an EV, & eat the rich… right? (*laughs in billionaire.) Well here’s a quick backstory: China started playing the long/strategic game with EVs decades ago. They began mining battery materials/minerals in Africa, long before anyone else really saw the real value/importance. Pollution, deforestation, horrible working conditions… the whole 9 yards. But does it count if it’s in Africa? Or does it have to be in Southern California to matter? Somebody ask Newsom.
Anyway – because of China’s early foresight, China now has a leading edge in EV battery production. They control the resources. The world is chanting “EV is the future” while dressed in bubblewrap, meanwhile China is using their new leverage in 2 key ways.
1) Producing EV batteries for legacy auto manufacturers, as they make the big switch to electrified.
2) Becoming a global producer of automobiles themselves.
Translation: Sell EV batteries to your international competition, until you have enough strength to cut their supply, gouge their costs, & replace them. We’re apparently approaching the climax of that story. Now you can’t blame BYD or China for seeing the path to their success. But you can blame the rest of us… for being gullible enough to hand it to them on a silver platter.
Through everything, it’s important to understand…
That China’s government & it’s industry is much more one-in-the-same than it is here in the US. Although these days – it seems like our US government & our auto industry has ALSO become suspiciously one-in-the-same… but I guess that’s another rant for another day.
The point is: China & BYD’s goal is to get onto the automotive main-stage globally.
And now they have the opportunity to do just that, while having their American & European competition completely off rhythm & essentially in a cost/production chokehold. Just recently at the Paris Motor Show, BYD ceremoniously handed over the keys to some of Europe’s first BYD customers (non commercial; private). BYD is working their way into Europe, and they’re in negotiations with European countries about actually manufacturing cars in Europe. That’s now raising some real concerns from European car manufacturers. Ahhh but the shift from internal combustion to EV changes the entire game as we know it, doesn’t it. A lot of the heritage & passion that went into ‘the automobile’ gets filtered out of the autonomous EV formula. Cars become more like electronic devices… and it tips the scales.
Bringing it back to America:
BYD made the battery for the Ford Mustang Mach E for its introduction in 2021/22. For as many pats on the back as the Mach E got from media, here’s the reality: Ford made huge investments to develop an entirely new vehicle with the Mustang Mach E. And then they trusted the battery to China & BYD. Battery costs quickly spiraled out of control. Once the Mach E was in production & BYD had leverage, BYD put the squeeze on Ford & prices shot through the roof on that battery, increasing month over month. Ford’s cost hit $18,000 per battery. Again though – you can’t really blame BYD … for Ford’s decision to put key component of their vehicle straight into their competitor’s hands. Did Ford even realize they were competitors? You gotta wonder.
There was a contactor recall on the Mach E early this summer that (unofficially) ended up stopping 2022 sales entirely. Ford lets you believe its because they sold out for 2022… due to all that high demand. But that’s not true. What DOES seem true – is Ford was having a hard time controlling the quality of the Mach E… & an impossible time controlling the battery cost. The car became unprofitable. For 2023, Ford has moved to a different LFP battery, made by CATL.
With the EV revolution upon us (edit: ‘forced’ upon us)…
A total confusion & frenzy has set into the car industry. Keep in mind – much of the frenzy has been falsely fabricated, and politically accelerated. The Inflation Reduction Act seems to have some good components to it. Through incentives & tax credits, it’s placing a priority on North American made batteries. Europe is adopting some similar strategies. But even if the batteries get their final assembly & packaging here, where are the materials are coming from? And will that ultimately just open the door for Chinese auto companies (like BYD) to bring their private auto manufacturing to American/European soil?
Now to all the EV activists out there… here’s what I need help understanding.
Knowing everything you know about China & Chinese industry, do you really think they prioritize being green… or their carbon footprint? Do you honestly think a zero-emissions vehicle is really zero-emissions? Or just a deceptive slogan, like ‘low fat’. Have you considered the carbon footprint it requires to actually create the vehicle? Because it’s a lot more than an internal combustion car. And it includes big holes in the earth. See, EVs aren’t that disruptive when they’re 6% of the market. But when politicians legislate to make it 100% of new car sales, it becomes a real big environmental problem real fast. People like to rant about ‘the infrastructure’ & how we’re going to charge all these EVs… but we don’t even need to go there yet. Let’s just look at what they take from the earth to create. Especially something like a 9,000-pound Hummer EV… with a battery big enough to power a half-dozen hybrids. Lastly, to the green/EV activists: Do you ever feel like politicians are pandering to you & your compassion… using you as the useful idiots to regulate extreme wealth into their own pockets?