Chinese electric vehicle (EV) giant BYD [1211:HK] acknowledged the presence of a toxic chemical in electric buses for the Japanese market, days after its Japanese partner Hino Motors froze plans to debut these buses in Japan by the end of March, as reported by Nikkei Asia on February 24. BYD confirmed that it used hexavalent chromium, which is deemed highly toxic and a harmful carcinogen, in an anti-rust treatment for certain parts, such as nuts and bolts, in five electric buses. It stated that normal post-manufacturing operation of the vehicles will neither affect passengers, drivers, or maintenance staff, nor cause environmental damage as the vehicles will be detoxified before being scrapped.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association voluntarily banned hexavalent chromium in 2018, although Japanese laws do not prohibit the use of this substance. The European Unition (EU) also banned its use in passenger vehicles. BYD is Japan’s largest electric bus supplier with a 70% market occupation. To repair its reputation, the company promised that the electric buses due to be introduced to the Japanese market at the end of the year will be manufactured without the substance. Moreover, it launched an investigation about whether hexavalent chromium was also used in parts for electric passenger cars that were already sold in Japan this January.