China’s BYD To Construct EV Factory In Hungary

The ambitions by the European country of Hungary to become an electrical vehicle (EV) manufacturing hub were bolstered last week.

The Associated Press reported that China’s BYD, the world’s second-biggest electric carmaker, is to construct an EV factory near the southern Hungarian city of Szeged, and is expected to provide thousands of jobs to the region, according to a statement from the Facebook page of Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.

It is reported that BYD will construct the plant, and it comes after the Chinese EV giant had in November launched a new premium brand called Sea Lion along with the Sea Lion 07 sport-utility vehicle, that competes directly with Tesla vehicles such as the Model Y.

BYD’s Sea Lion 07. Image credit: BYD

Hungarian Factory

BYD surpassed Elon Musk’s Tesla as the biggest EV maker last year, but most of its cars are low-cost models aimed at lower- and middle-income buyers in mainland China.

The company has also begun competing in Europe with vehicles including the entry-level Dolphin, launched in the UK this year with a price tag of £25,490.

In China BYD offers EVs such as the small Seagull hatchback, which uses a cheaper-to-produce sodium-ion battery and began selling domestically this year with a starting price of 73,800 yuan (£8,200).

According to Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, the new Szeged factory near Hungary’s border with Serbia “will be one of the largest investments in Hungarian economic history.”

He added that the government would provide financial incentives to BYD for building the plant, details of which he said would be released at a later date.

The plant’s construction will “further strengthen the position of the Hungarian economy, further strengthen the foundations of long-term economic growth, and further strengthen Hungary’s position in the global electric automotive transition,” Szijjártó was quoted by the AP as saying.

EV hub

Hungary in recent years has sought to become a global hub of lithium-ion battery manufacturing, the AP reported.

It pointed out that South Korea’s Samsung, China’s CATL and other companies have built factories around Hungary, but there has been some concern from some local residents and environmental groups that worry about the consequences of the manufacturing.

CATL’s 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen, which is expected to create around 9,000 jobs, is the largest such EV battery factory in Hungary so far, the AP reported.

BYD already has an electric bus manufacturing plant in the northwestern Hungarian city of Komarom.

The Denza N7 electric vehicle. Image credit: BYD

But the planned Szeged factory would be the first major consumer EV production facility in Europe for a Chinese carmaker. It will be established on a 300-hectare (740 acre) site, and construction of the factory had already begun.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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