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The Chinese electric-car firm that hopes to win over Americans by building them taxis

If you drive around Los Angeles you just might spot a silent-running sport utility vehicle sporting an unfamiliar automaker’s badge. The electric car can go nearly 200 miles on a charge, and at the touch of a button its battery will power your house if there’s a blackout. The manufacturer is not some Silicon Valley startup but BYD, the $30 billion Chinese conglomerate. It’s quietly entering the US market by placing small numbers of of the SUV, called the e6, in corporate fleets.
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BYD is best known in the US for its famous investor. In 2008, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took a 10% in the company that makes, among other things, cars, batteries, mobile phones and solar panels. Earlier this year, BYD became the first Chinese automaker to open a manufacturing plant in the US. It retrofitted a defunct factory in southern California to assemble an electric bus. BYD has also built a battery assembly plant in California.
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