Berkshire Hathaway-Backed BYD Enters South Africa Bus Market

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD, the world’s leading electric bus manufacturer, has released a joint announcement with Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) that two BYD electric buses will be placed into operation in Cape Town, Western Cape province.

These two electric buses will be the first electric buses in South Africa and Southern Africa.

As the largest public transportation service provider in South Africa, GABS is currently running more than 1100 units of buses daily and has more than 160 years of bus operating experience.

Since November 2020, GABS has conducted a series of strict tests on the two BYD electric buses. The test outcome was outstanding and received high praise from GABS. In addition, GABS planned to start the electrification of the local public transportation gradually in the future.

“Introducing electric buses aims to respond to the national and provincial governments’ call for reducing carbon emissions,” said Gideon Neethling, GABS company engineer. “For the first few months, we tested the buses in a range of circumstances without passengers. The aim was to get to know exactly how these vehicles perform before incorporating them into our operations.” He was very pleased with the test result, said: “Testing these vehicles has been a joy for everyone who is part of the project. Each time we carry out a new test or reach a new milestone, the level of excitement increases further,” said Neethling.

The capacity of the BYD electric bus is 40 passengers with the highest range up to 320 km (200 miles). In addition, these buses are equipped with user-friendly features, such as free WiFi and a wheelchair ramp. These two electric buses will operate during the local rush hour, carrying passengers between Retreat and Cape Town.

Transport and Public Works Minister, Daylin Mitchell said: “After taking a ride in this bus, I am confident passengers will feel safe during their journey.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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