China's Buffett-backed BYD inks first overseas deal on electric cars

BEIJING Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:56am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese car maker BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK) 002594.SZ, backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, said on Wednesday it will supply 50 electric cars to London cab service provider greentomatocars, marking its first overseas deal.

BYD's e6 will join greentomatocars' fleet, which now has more than 300 hybrids, by the second quarter of 2013, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The e6 joined the taxi fleet of Shenzhen in May 2010 as part of Beijing's pilot project to put 5 million plug-in hybrids and electric cars on the road by 2020. BYD will add 500 more to the current over 300 e6 cabs running in the city.

Battery maker-turned-car manufacturer BYD is seen as a domestic pioneer in green auto technology in China.

The safety of its electric vehicles had been called into question after an e6 taxi caught fire in a fatal accident in May. A probe showed the lithium-ion phosphate battery that powers the car was not the cause of the fire and it was due to the high-speed collision, BYD said in August.

In late September, BYD had also delivered 12 e6s to the Chinese government.

(The story corrects second paragraph to say e6 to be delivered by second quarter of 2013.)

(Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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