China’s BYD ties up with Cycle & Carriage Singapore and begins sales of its electric forklifts. *Forklifts only, but BYD EVs could be on the horizon…
At an unveiling and officiating ceremony held at Infinite Studios this evening, Chinese electric transport and technology company BYD signed an agreement commencing the authorised distributorship of its electric forklifts with Cycle & Carriage Singapore (C&C).
BYD is not as well known as the likes of Tesla or Nissan when it comes to electric cars, but the Chinese company has been the world’s biggest producer of plug-in EVs for the third year running, when in 2017 it produced 113,669 units.
“We are delighted to work with Cycle & Carriage Singapore as our exclusive distributor. With their leading automotive position, vast network and deep understanding of the Singapore market, we look forward to delivering these innovative solutions to help businesses achieve higher efficiency and significant reductions in operational costs and environmental impact,” said Mr Benson Ke (pictured above), assistant general manager Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, BYD Auto Industry Company Limited, in his speech at the event.
But you’re probably thinking huh? Forklifts, and not cars? So what?
If you’re not one to buy a forklift, but a car, then it’s an obvious signpost toward a future that includes BYD electric cars on the road.
“With stricter carbon emission standards and the growing importance of corporate sustainability, we believe that lithium battery technology will be a game changer for the material-handling industry, replacing diesel and lead-acid electric forklifts,” said Mr Eric Chan (pictured above), managing director of Cycle & Carriage Singapore, at the event.
When queried about the possibility of C&C taking up the distributorship of BYD electric cars in Singapore, Mr Chan acknowledged it was a possibility, though it isn’t on the cards just yet.
“This is just a first step,” he told CarBuyer at the event, “but we also have to look at the Singapore market itself and whether it’s ready, and it might be soon, but not right now.”
The signing marks BYD’s first authorised distributorship here, and Cycle & Carriage’s inauguration into the material-handling business.
Singaporeans are no stranger to BYD cars, though. In 2016, taxi operator HDT announced that it would run a fleet of 100 fully electric taxis, BYD’s E6H hatchback, and you can still see them on the roads with their distinctive yellow and blue R&D license plates. BYD imported these vehicles directly, without appointing a distributor.
As part of parent BYD Company, the brand also produces bicycles, buses, skytrains and more, but is perhaps most well known for its lithium ion iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, which offer greater longevity (charge cycles) and stability than conventional cobalt/manganese based lithium ion batteries.
As another mark of its forward-thinking nature, it was rated as number one tech company to watch by Bloomberg in 2010, and Warren Buffett acquired 10 percent stake in parent company, BYD Company, in 2008.
China is of course one of the biggest car markets, and the biggest single market for electrified vehicles in the world, with an ambitious plan to produce three-million EVs a year by 2025.