Last week, Volkswagen and Chinese automaker BYD signed a memorandum of understanding to work together "in the area of electric mobility" and vehicles that use li-ion batteries. BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu (yes, the guy who likes to drink battery fluid) and VW's Martin Winterkorn signed the MOU in Wolfsburg, Germany. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board for Technical Development at Volkswagen, said in a statement (available after the jump) that, "Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role [for VW], of course. Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities."

Perhaps VW was kicked into action by another German automaker taking a look at another EV automaker?

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[Source: VW]


PRESS RELEASE:

Volkswagen and BYD sign memorandum of understanding

Partnership in the area of electric mobility to be explored

Wolfsburg, 25 May 2009 - During an informational visit by the Chinese carmaker BYD "Build Your Dreams" – led by the Chairman of the Board of Management, Wang Chuanfu – a memorandum of understanding was signed last week by Mr Wang and Dr Winterkorn.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board for Technical Development at Volkswagen, insisted on personally providing the delegation of Chinese top managers with information. The visit, which took place first at the Elektrotraktion Technology Centre in Isenbüttel and then at the test tracks in Wolfsburg, featured technical discussions and test drives with a variety of vehicles such as the Golf twinDrive and the prototype for an electric vehicle. "Volkswagen will consistently expand its successful 'BlueMotionTechnologies'. Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role, of course. Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities," emphasised Dr Hackenberg.

Afterwards, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr Martin Winterkorn, and the Chairman of the Board of Management of BYD, Wang Chuanfu, signed a memorandum of understanding. The objective of signing a memorandum of understanding between Volkswagen and BYD is to explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries.