Shenzhen-based BYD Co., which counts among its investors the powerful Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway, has won the right to shuttle European Union officials in Brussels in its new fleet of electric-powered taxis.
The EU’s de facto capital has just finished the first auction in the city’s move to bring in emission-free taxis, with the surprise win of the Chinese automaker – which has managed to beat Renault and Nissan’s offerings. The Chinese company said the 50-car order for battery-powered taxis had local operators buying 34 BYD e6 cars.
This is another blow to CEO Carlos Ghosn’s strive to implement his view on the electric future of the auto industry. According to Luigi Marrocco, chief executive officer of Taxis Bleus, one of Brussels largest taxi companies, said, “when it comes to size, comfort and range, BYD was clearly above Nissan and Renault.”
Ghosn has struggled so far to find fleet buyers for the company’s two most important electric models: Renault’s Zoe and Nissan’s Leaf. The Byd e6 has an operating range of around 300 kilometers (190 miles), while the Zoe only reaches 150 kms.
The Brussels regional government said that Byd’s e6 48,000-euro ($61,000) purchase price is bigger than for a conventional car, but the costs can be offset by the fuel savings in just four years of taxi operation.