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Volkswagen and BYD Agree to Explore Partnership for Hybrids and EVs

Chinese carmaker BYD and Volkswagen have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries. Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, and Chairman of the Board of Management of BYD, Wang Chuanfu, signed the agreement last week during a BYD visit to Volkswagen.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board for Technical Development at Volkswagen, personally provided the delegation of Chinese top managers with information. The visit, which took place first at the Elektrotraktion Technology Centre in Isenbüttel and then at the test tracks in Wolfsburg, featured technical discussions and test drives with a variety of vehicles such as the Golf twinDrive and the prototype for an electric vehicle.

Volkswagen will consistently expand its successful ‘BlueMotionTechnologies’. Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role, of course. Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities.

—Dr. Hackenberg

Volkswagen is involved in a number of newer partnerships related to lithium-ion batteries and electric drive units:

  • In 2008, Volkswagen and Sanyo announced partnership to work on next-generation high-performance automotive electric storage systems based on lithium-ion technology. The Volkswagen Group said then that it hopes to be able to apply Li-ion technology in its first vehicles by 2010. (Earlier post.)

  • Volkswagen is also a member of the Lithium Ionen Batterie LIB 2015 (Lithium-Ion Battery LIB 2015) consortium in Germany, which includes Evonik and Li-Tec, Bosch and BASF The consortium is investing €360 million for research and development of lithium-ion batteries. This will be supplemented by €60 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). (Earlier post.)

  • In January 2009, Volkswagen AG and the Toshiba Corporation signed a letter of intent to cooperate for the development of electric drive units and the accompanying power electronics for Volkswagen’s planned New Small Family. Furthermore, Volkswagen and Toshiba are planning the development of battery systems with a high specific energy density for the next generation of electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)

BYD Auto, which is a subsidiary of China-based BYD Group, the leading provider of NiCd batteries (65% global market share) and lithium-ion cell phone batteries (30% global market share), uses BYD lithium-ion iron phosphate cells in its energy storage system. The company showed the production version of its F3DM (dual mode) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle; the F6DM, a larger version of the F3DM due to go onsale this year; and an all-new battery-electric crossover, the e6, at the North American International Auto Show in January. (Earlier post.)



German precision and Chinese batteries could be mutually benefical.

Account Deleted

Yesterday it was Benz cooperating with Tesla and now VW is cooperating with BYD. VW and Benz know they are behind in pure EVs and they are seeking partners that can shorten the time until they can launch their own EVs. Tesla can obviously help to do that and BYD can also help VW in this matter because they already are selling a PHEV with a BYD battery and are on track to sell the wagon sized pure EV later this year called e6.

Watch up for the price of the coming e6. That price will give a really good estimate of the lowest cost per kWh for auto batteries and it will tell us whether mainstream EVs are only a few years away or still many years away.


I was wondering who would hook up with BYD. The series/parallel design of their car looked good to me. It is pretty common for companies to do cooperative agreements when the market will expand rapidly and there is enough room for everyone, but they all have to get their quickly.


Problem is byd is having serious troubles actualy making WORKING packs. The failure rate is rather high because shock of shocks thier el cheapo batteries are el cheapo for a reason.

Henry Gibson

ZEBRA batteries are available and reliable and safe and as energy dense as lithium. ..HG..

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