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The global automotive industry is at a crossroads. Warmer winters and longer summers have prompted critical climate action, and one of the first responses has been the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).
This transition hasn’t been easy for customers or manufacturers, but many have looked ahead to what might be and have embraced their role in bringing about – or preventing – possible futures.
Car manufacturer BYD Singapore is one such changemaker. Not only is BYD a leader in the field of electrified transportation, it’s also a subsidiary of BYD Company, the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries.
There’s also a statement of intent baked right into the name: Build Your Dreams. As you might expect, there’s a lot of positive energy flowing through the company, and much of it comes from Managing Director James Ng.
“I feel very honored to be a part of the electric vehicle revolution, especially in Singapore where the results are very fruitful,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “The propulsion of electric vehicles is much greater than it was 10 years ago when I joined BYD. I think we’ve done a good job in that time and I’m happy with how EVs are progressing in Singapore, especially when compared to regional areas.
“However, I believe there’s still much to be done by 2030.”
That’s the year Singapore’s Ministry of Transport has set a series of targets as part of its Singapore Green Plan, which would see all vehicles running on cleaner energy by 2040.
As one of South-East Asia’s largest all-electric vehicle makers, BYD Singapore has a big part to play in realizing that vision. That means Ng must know his product inside and out.
“The conversation surrounding EVs doesn’t start and end with zero pollution and saving the earth,” he says. “We’re also trying to ensure there’s a good life cycle cost attached. This hasn’t always been the case, but today EVs can beat internal combustion engine vehicles when it comes to maintenance, running and initial setup costs.”
These are the kinds of details Ng has in his arsenal when selling the EV concept to customers and stakeholders, but he says there’s one element of the electric vehicle that has flown under the radar.
“I personally feel that there are two stages of an EV: first, the use of electronic technology that enables the vehicle to move. Second, there’s the electronic software that can be incorporated into today’s IoT to create a smart vehicle. That’s a very different concept from an ICE [internal combustion engine].”
Singapore’s distribution network is already on the EV train; for BYD, Vantage Automotive Limited is an official distributor. And to achieve total buy-in from would-be customers, Ng and BYD have sought to clear the lingering doubt surrounding the reliability and safety of EV technology.
“They need to be convinced that charging stations are safe and risk-free, that batteries are sustainable in terms of performance and resource supply,” he says. “We’re doing that, but during this time we have to put in even more effort to convince all respective stakeholders.”
Selling the concept is only the first part of Ng’s long-term strategy. It’s the long game that pays off for BYD, which in 2022 alone delivered hundreds of electric light commercial vans, buses, forklifts and trucks in addition to more than 700 passenger cars.
“Through the BYD platform, we’ve demonstrated, and will continue to demonstrate, good EV outcomes in Singapore, and other countries will follow,” he says.
Ng’s good outcomes have driven BYD to the top of the industry, with sales surpassing all previous periods.
“People are very receptive and recognize BYD as a strong brand in China and beyond,” he says. “Our new BYD ATTO 3 brand has just been introduced in Singapore, and already it’s gaining traction.”
In fact, BYD ATTO 3 was the most awarded electric SUV in Singapore, Thailand, Israel, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand in 2022, with other accolades pouring in from around the world. Ng says that with the right messaging, combined with the hard work of BYD’s internal team and external partners, 2023 could prove an even sweeter dream.
“We’re launching one more car model this year, which we’re very excited about,” he says. “BYD is already one of the leading EV brands in Singapore, and we’re very confident that this new model will achieve an even better result.”