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Europe: Chinese Vehicle Makers Arrive, With Electric Cars Not Far Behind

The auto industry has long feared the arrival of a Chinese electric car that would be vastly cheaper than anything domestic brands could make. But that car has failed to arrive so far. A Chinese car powered by gasoline has not even arrived yet. Geely should start selling in the U.K. later this year, and one can buy a Great Wall pick-up truck in Italy, but as of today, it’s impossible to buy a Chinese gasoline car anywhere in America or in western Europe. Was the fear unfounded? Has BYD, the most aggressive Chinese electric car manufacturer, changed its plans to sell EVs all other the world?

Not at all. The Chinese manufacturers are coming—actually they’re already here. We didn’t see them coming, because they came through the small door. It’s the smaller guys who have entered western markets. In France, it’s possible to buy a kit to convert a Prius into a plug-in hybrid—a 4-kWh battery pack sits below the trunk). It uses Chinese Thunder Sky battery cells. Then there was that Oscar Eo plug-in hybrid prototype that competed in the Dakar rally-raid last month. It too used a 52.5-kWh pack of Thunder Sky batteries, though that company has changed its name. It will now sell its products under the name of Winston Battery.
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