Warren Buffett On Electric Vehicles & BYD Investment | May 6, 2011 | Summary and Q&A

November 14, 2020
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Warren Buffett On Electric Vehicles & BYD Investment | May 6, 2011

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In this video, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and Bill Gates discuss their investment in BYD, an electric car company in China, and the future of the automotive industry. They share their thoughts on BYD's potential, the importance of innovation, and the optimism they have for America's future.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did BYD convince Warren Buffett to invest a hundred million dollars in the company?

Warren Buffett mentions that Charlie Munger, his business partner, understood the potential of BYD and convinced him to invest. Despite not fully understanding it himself, Buffett had confidence in Munger's knowledge and expertise, which led to the decision.

Q: What stood out to Bill Gates about BYD as an investment?

Bill Gates emphasizes the company's culture of invention, their large pool of engineers, and their rapid progress in the electric car industry. He mentions that BYD has a significant number of engineers, constantly increasing, and they have a strong grasp of the need for batteries in both cars and the grid. Additionally, he notes their success in making conventional cars as a side business.

Q: Is it a concern that US companies are only now catching up in producing good quality cars?

Charlie Munger believes that it would have been better if US companies had improved earlier, but he emphasizes that it's not a zero-sum game. He states that regardless of where innovation comes from, the world benefits. Therefore, it is a positive development that more companies, whether American or international, are now making better cars.

Q: What is it like to be around Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, who are both aging but still vibrant in their thinking?

Bill Gates admires the youthful attitude and energy of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. He finds being around them invigorating and a constant learning experience. Despite their age, they continue to think and act like young individuals still at the height of their game.

Q: How does BYD avoid potential problems faced by companies like Toyota?

Charlie Munger explains that successful companies continually improve faster than their competition. This is the essence of BYD's approach. They invest significant engineering resources and accept failures in their pursuit of constant improvements. Munger admires their determination and ability to implement ideas quickly and effectively.

Q: Can America be optimistic about its future after a difficult period?

Bill Gates acknowledges that the country is still recovering from challenging times, but he remains optimistic. He mentions the ongoing innovation and the bright minds at college campuses that are focused on reducing inequity through innovation. Gates believes that the United States is better off than ever and that the country is entering a great time.

Q: Do you think the relative position of the United States in the world will decline?

Charlie Munger believes that the United States' relative position in the world will likely decline over time. However, he clarifies that this does not mean the country won't continue to progress and increase its welfare. Munger acknowledges the value of the American system, which has been exported and learned from by other countries. He predicts that people will live better in the future, even though the United States' lead may shrink.

Q: Were you full of ideas and hope for the future during the floor session?

Charlie Munger confirms that he is indeed full of ideas, hope, and vitality for the future. He believes the same is true for the American people. While there may be occasional roadblocks or hiccups, the system overall works and will continue to do so in the long run.


Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and Bill Gates express their confidence in BYD's potential and the importance of continuous innovation in the automotive industry. They highlight the positive impact that companies from different countries can have on the world, emphasizing that the benefits are not limited to a single nation. Additionally, they share their optimism for America's future, citing ongoing innovation and the resilience of the American people. Despite acknowledging potential challenges, they believe that the United States will continue to progress and improve the standard of living for its citizens.

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