During an informational visit by the Chinese carmaker BYD (Build Your Dreams), company chairman Wang Chuanfu and the CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn signed a memorandum of understanding in the area of electric mobility. The objective of signing a memorandum of understanding between the two companies is to explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries.

The visit, which took place first at the Elektrotraktion Technology Centre in Isenbüttel, Germany, featured technical discussions and test drives with a variety of vehicles such as the Golf TwinDrive hybrid and a new prototype for an all-electric vehicle. Both companies see hybrids and electric vehicles playing an increasingly important role, especially in China. By partnering, the two companies will be able to quickly expand their activities.

VW recently partnered with Sanyo to help develop new lithium-ion battery technologies and in the past 12 months has unveiled several electric and hybrid concepts. However, VW does not intend to mass market such vehicles until around 2015. In the meantime, the company will continue to focus on improving the efficiency of its petrol and diesel engines. There will be some mild hybrid models in the interim, however, as VW sees these as a stepping stone to an all-electric future for the auto industry.