China’s biggest electric car company just unveiled its SkyRail

The Monorail is not a new idea, but it’s what China’s biggest electric car company hopes will solve traffic woes in some of the nation’s larger cities. BYD, in which Warren Buffett is a shareholder, today showed off its gleaming SkyRail on an elevated test track at its Shenzhen

19 October 2016 Wednesday, 11:25

The Monorail is not a new idea, but it’s what China’s biggest electric car company hopes will solve traffic woes in some of the nation’s larger cities. BYD, in which Warren Buffett is a shareholder, today showed off its gleaming SkyRail on an elevated test track at its Shenzhen HQ.

The SkyRail unveiling is the culmination of a five-year project worth nearly US$750 million. BYD wants to recoup the money by selling the system around the world – particularly to smaller Chinese cities that don’t have the cash to build a costlier subway system.

“Mass transit systems are an indispensable solution to alleviate traffic congestion in cities,” said BYD president and chairman Wang Chuanfu at the launch ceremony.

“As a rail transport option with relatively smaller passenger capacity, SkyRail can complement existing public transport systems to create a layered transport system encompassing underground, roadway, and elevated elements.”

Looking up

China so far has just two monorail lines – both in the hilly metropolis of Chongqing. Its carriages were purchased from Japan’s Hitachi.

BYD last year sold 58,000 EVs.
Like the Tokyo Monorail that goes runs from Haneda airport, the SkyRail has a top speed of 80 kph.

BYD makes affordable plug-in and electric cars as well as electric buses. It last year sold 58,000 vehicles around the world and is aiming at 150,000 this year.

The SkyRail could be a safer option than the bizarre, untested – and possibly, maybe, who-knows-for-sure bankrupt – traffic-straddling bus that another Chinese company is hoping to sell to cities.

Converted from Chinese yuan. Rate: US$1 = RMB 6.73.

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