The scandal is a challenge to BYD's brand image as a maker of new energy vehicles. Despite the vaunted environmental benefits of NEVs, corporate social responsibility, environmental cost, risks of planning and other issues will likely affect other large factories in the future
Media reported that hundreds of residents had gathered recently and held a banner in front of BYD's factory in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, protesting what they said is air pollution from the factory and urging the carmaker to solve the pollution problem.
It is understood that the residents come from more than a dozen nearby communities in Changsha’s Yuhua District.
In April, residents complained on social platforms about a pungent smell from the BYD factory in Changsha. Some residents and their children complained of nausea, vomiting, coughing, nose bleeding and other physical disorders.
In the face of protests from residents, BYD countered that the factory's emissions meet the national standards.
According to the local environment enforcement in Changsha, the BYD factory is built nearby a residential compound, but the land it sits on is planned for industrial use, and it follows industrial emission standards.
The Changsha government has organized a group of investigators, third-party testing agencies and experts and sent them to BYD’s factory to probe the incident.
“The emissions of the first phase of the project are large indeed. I also understand residents concern that we might restart the mass production again. But considering more than CNY 10 billion (USD 1.5 billion) investment in the project, it’s not realistic to stop production completely,” says Zhu Bin, General Manager of BYD Changsha.
He added that “we hope to make the rectification in May to minimize the impact to the residents as much as possible.”