JEJUDO ISLAND -- Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is set to make a foray into the market, armed with its electric bus K9, a company executive said.
“We are set to enter the fast-growing electric auto market in Korea with our battery-powered bus K9 after forming a partnership with local tech company Suncore,” Liu Xueliang, BYD’s Asia-Pacific general manager, said in an interview with The Korea Herald during the 3rd IEVE.
BYD, which started its battery-making business in 1995, has grown into a global manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles. It currently sells all-electric K9 buses and hybrid sedan F3DM in 101 cities of 29 nations.
“The K9 electric bus, which can drive up to more than 300 kilometers on a single charge, offers high-quality performance for users to safely drive at high and low temperatures,” Xueliang said.
He was hopeful that Korea would allow the entry of the firm’s electric taxis and buses as early as possible amid accelerating global efforts to reduce car emissions, affected by the Paris climate deal, a global agreement on the reduction of emissions, signed at the COP21 meeting held in December 2015.
Suncore CEO Choi Kyu-sun promised to step up its support to introduce BYD’s electric bus to Korea. “We will work hard to take the lead in the new-energy transportation market together with BYD,” he said, adding, “Maintenance centers for K9 buses will be exclusively operated in partnership with BYD as well.”
Suncore signed a deal with BYD to operate three K9 buses in the local market and will complete the delivery by May. The buses are expected to start operation in the second half of this year. Choi, however, declined to disclose in which city the buses will be rolled out first.
“We plan to adopt around 1,000 electric buses within two years by cooperating with relevant city governmental organizations,” Choi said, adding, “There are around 2,000 battery-powered buses in Busan and if the city replace one-third with electric buses, it needs more than 600 electric buses.”
Using lithium iron-phosphate batteries, K9 buses have low-energy consumption and require less maintenance cost than diesel buses, according to the company.
BYD, an automaker supplying EVs along with batteries and electric control devices, ranked first in terms of global EV sales last year. It sold around 62,000 units in 2015, beating the U.S. high-end EV maker Tesla Motors. The company currently takes up around 11 percent of global market share.
“BYD will do its best to continue to spur research and development to have more advanced technologies in electric vehicles,” Xueliang said.
By Shin Ji-hye