The Chinese Are Coming - #46


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Page 1: Test Driving the BYD Tang EV
Page 2: Electric - Autonomous - Connected - New Deals

On a recent Friday afternoon I found myself in Shenzhen, the sprawling modern metropolis of 12.5 million, just across the border from Hong Kong. 

Executives at BYD invited my colleagues and me to get behind the wheel of a BYD Tang, the good-looking electric SUV designed by former Audi executive Wolfgang Eggers. 

(Photo: BYD Tang EV 600)

(Photo: BYD Tang EV 600)

BYD Tang at a glance:  

• Name: "Tang" is a salute to the glorious Tang Dynasty, which ruled from 618-907. 
• Drive-Train: Two versions: plug-in hybrid and all-electric (EV 600), with 250-300 mile range. 
• Quickness: 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.
• Price: $42,000-$52,000.

This is no cheap and cheerful Chinese commuter car.  From build quality to design to technology, the vehicle earns respect. 

For an example of real innovation, look no further than the Tang's center stack.  With a nod to Tesla, BYD has gone all touchscreen.  And they're doing it using simpler, non-automotive-grade components. 

"They are using consumer technology, a tablet screen, and can innovate quicker and at a very affordable price," says Dan Gittleman, CEO of Xevo, Inc, a Seattle based in-car commerce software company acquired by Lear earlier this year.  "This allows them to ride the latest technology curves as soon as they become available, like how our phones get updated." 

Another innovation: The entire screen rotates from horizontal to vertical - and back - depending on what you are looking at.  For example, the screen rotates to vertical for navigation maps.

And yes, the BYD tablet screen also takes selfies on demand.

(Photo: BYD Center Stack is a digital screen with one-touch apps)

(Photo: BYD Center Stack is a digital screen with one-touch apps)

BYD executives are convinced that design is the key to innovation. There is a head-turning 6,000 square meter global design center at headquarters. And the company has hired additional design directors from Mercedes and Ferrari. When I asked BYD engineers about borrowing design concepts from Tesla, they raised their eyebrows in surprise. "No," they said with a modicum of seriousness, "the reality is that Tesla is BYD-like."

BYD is China's largest electric vehicle maker. Through July, BYD sold 162,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, up 73% year-on-year. At the same time, BYD is phasing out gasoline-powered offerings.

BYD Sales Jan-July 2019
Gasoline: 97,000 (down 42%)
Electric: 162,000 (up 73%)
Total: 259,000 (up 1%)

BYD's electric vehicle lineup will only get better in the coming years. In July, BYD announced a new joint venture with Toyota to develop electric vehicles for China. This comes in addition to Denza, BYD's 6 year-old EV joint venture with Mercedes.

Pretty good company to keep.


- Page 2 -
Electric - Autonomous - Connected - New Deals


Tesla revenues in China increased 42% to almost $1.5 billion in the period January-June, 2019. The company's China operations accounted for 27% of the company's global revenues.

China has built the world's largest EV charging infrastructure, 60% of which is privately funded.

Sinomach Automobile, China's largest vehicle importer, has launched its own EV brand. You guessed it - the name is Sinomach, or Zedriv.

BYD, China's leading electrified vehicle maker, saw sales fall 17% in July,


Baidu and First Auto Works have teamed up to deploy a fleet of autonomous vehicles in the South Central city of Changsha, Hunan Province.

Chinese autonomous tech startup WeRide says reaching goals will take longer than expected because pedestrian behavior is hard to predict.

Huawei has ambitions to develop its own autonomous tech mapping service called MapKit.

Connected & Shared

Bosch will soon open a 5G V2X connectivity controls R&D center in Shanghai.

Didi spins off its autonomous tech division.

New Deals

Dongfeng Motors may sell its 12% stake in the PSA Group to shore up its cash position.

BP and Didi Chuxing are joining hands to build an EV charging network fro vehicle fleets.

Real estate powerhouse Evergrande is on a multi-billion dollar buying and partnership spree designed to dominate China's EV market. Funds invested in carmakers, charging infrastructure and dealer networks.


About Us: ZoZo Go advises companies on the future of autonomous, electric and connected vehicle in the U.S and China. Our clients: Automakers, suppliers, tech companies and investors.

ZoZo Go's core offerings: The ACES Genius Briefing and The China Genius Briefing. We operate from offices in Hong Kong, San Diego and Shanghai.

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