Shake your head in wonder, as you travel back to 2008: Warren Buffet and American and Chinese officials fawn over Chinese battery maker BYD’s plans to sell electric vehicles worldwide. BYD (the name stands for “Build Your Dreams”) had bought a car factory in China and was launching electric car manufacturing. World domination was just a few years away. The sage of Omaha said so: it had to be true, right?
But now, here we are in 2014. Snicker sardonically as you realize there are few BYD battery electric cars
anywhere. If you haven’t heard much about BYD's electric car revolution, you’re not the only one.
But our tale has just begun!
Grimace as the US federal and California state governments shovel subsidies and “stimulus” spending at BYD for opening an American operation.
Snicker as BYD decides to build electric buses rather than cars, because, supposedly, selling buses to governments is easier than selling cars to individuals. Riiiight! For Orren Boyle, maybe. But BYD soldiers ahead, and gets contracts with some California transit systems.
Cry as BYD tries to practice capitalism in America: hiring whom it wants, paying them what it wants. So it is raided by the California Labor Commission. And oh, because BYD didn’t subcontract to enough minority-owned businesses, its contracts with the government transit authorities are now void.
Read all the details
for yourself. Sheehan calls BYD’s business results in America “a nightmare.” But its electric car business in China is scarily bad, too.
What we need is a real free market
, where businesses do business, and governments just govern
. Instead, we have governments that try to be investors, and businesses that focus more on manipulating the government than on making products to sell.