Ford (NYSE: F) parried one foe, but the air continues to crackle with competition as a new player in the electric auto market takes shape in the East.

Earlier this month, we detailed Nissan's latest salvo in the electric car wars: the announcement that it has begun taking orders for its all-electric Leaf sedan, and will be selling this totally novel techno-buggy for as little as $25,000. Reading the news -- knowing that GM's Volt was already on the way, that Tesla's electric roadster was already road-ready, and that it, Ford, was falling ever further behind -- the boys and girls from Dearborn gritted their teeth and did the unthinkable: They took up Nissan's gauntlet and announced the electric Focus would be price competitive with the Leaf.

Problem solved?
Ford's bold move may have kept it in the running for a share of the green greenbacks. It may have persuaded some folks to hold off on buying a Volt or Leaf to see whether Ford's offering might be the better deal. But now Ford faces a new threat.

Over in China, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) holding BYD Motors has announced it is linking up with Germany's Daimler (NYSE: DAI) to build an electric car for the Chinese market. This car will be different than BYD's electric e6 and sold under a separate brand. More than that, Daimler-BYD says this could be only the first of several electric offerings. And given BYD's express intention to begin selling electric cars here in the U.S., I think it's safe to say the company has ulterior motives in signing up with the maker of Mercedes.

Time to find the accelerator
Ford's made some savvy alliances of its own in recent days, expanding its partnership with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) to make its electric offerings more tech-savvy and promising to put out an electric van for AT&T (NYSE: T) later this year, to give potential buyers a preview of its tech.

However, by combining Chinese cheapness with German engineering, Daimler-BYD could pose a serious threat to Ford's electric Focus. This makes it more urgent than ever that Ford grab an early lead in the electric market, before further threats appear in the form of high-volume rivals Honda (NYSE: HMC) and Toyota (NYSE: TM). Ford needs to get that electric Focus rolled out the door tout de suite, at a too-good-to-be-true price, and grab market share in this burgeoning market.

Because the Chinese are coming. And the Germans have got their back.

Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway and Ford Motor are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.