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The World’s Biggest Electric Vehicle Company Looks Nothing Like Tesla

BYD, which built the battery in your ’90s cellphone, now produces more EVs than anyone—and it wants to sell them to you, soon.

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BYD-built taxis charging in Shenzhen.

BYD-built taxis charging in Shenzhen.

Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok for Bloomberg Businessweek

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On the floor of a cavernous factory in southern China, dozens of unfinished cars, freshly painted in cherry red or dark silver, dangled 6 feet above a spotless concrete floor. Their engines had been installed a few moments earlier, but they were still skeletal, more the promise of vehicles than the real thing. As they drifted down the line, a sledlike robot scooted into position beneath each chassis, slowing to match its speed.