China's BYD and Morocco announce EV plant near Tangier
BYD, a leader in electric vehicles (EV) in China, has signed an agreement to open a factory near the Moroccan city of Tangier to build battery-powered passenger cars, buses and trucks.
The memorandum of understanding was signed at the royal palace in the coastal city of Casablanca in the presence of King Mohammed VI and BYD's chairman, Wang Chuanfu, whose company is backed by US investor Warren Buffett, AFP news agency reports.
The factory in the new Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City, which is part of a project between China and Morocco, is to produce electric cars, buses and trucks at a 50-hectare site employing 2,500 people, according to the project directors.
A plant for the assembly of electric trains is also planned, but the amount of investment and timeframe of the overall project were not announced.
"We hope to benefit from Morocco's location as an entry point to Europe and the African market," Wang Chuanfu said, adding that the first phase would produce cars.
BYD has been actively building up is global presence this year. The company opened its first electric bus plant in Europe in April. The 20-million-euro factory in Komarom, northern Hungary, has capacity to make 400 battery-driven buses annually. Those buses will be exported to customers across Europe.
The company also announced plans in March to invest 10 million euros to build an electric bus plant in France. The factory will be constructed in Allonne, northern France. It will start production in the first half of 2018 and it will produce up to 200 buses annually.
In addition, BYD also has a partnership in the UK with Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), which has already delivered electric buses to the cities of Liverpool and London, the company said.
In North America, BYD has an assembly plant in California to supply electric buses and announced plans last month to open a factory in Ontario, Canada, to make short-range vehicles such as garbage and delivery trucks.
BYD, however, as underlined by the specialized website Autonews, has not yet realized its ambition to sell cars in Europe.
In China, where BYD leads the EV market under its eponymous brand with a 22% PDM (according to China Passenger Car Association), Germany’s Daimler has partnered with BYD since 2012 to produce and sell electric vehicles under the brand Denza.