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BYD Owner Is China's Richest Man

More recognition for the manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and electric cars

1 min read

Wang Chuanfu, owner of BYD, has gone from being China's 103-richest man to being first, according to a report this week in the Financial Times. BYD, besides being a major world supplier of lithium ion batteries, has got into hybrid-electric car manufacturing in a big way, and has announced its intention of becoming China's and then the world's largest car maker. The company got a big boost a year ago when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway took a 10 percent stake in the company. (The value of that stake has gone in the meantime from $230 million to $1.7 billion, making it one of Buffett's more successful recent investments.)

The second richest person on the China list is a woman whose family owns the country's leading paper recycling and packing company, prompting comments on the prominence of green technology enterprises among the leading Chinese enterprises. However, the owners of two top solar companies--LDK Solar and Suntech--dropped out of the top ten:  

 

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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