The Chinese company BYD has just landed $11.5 Million dollar bus deal with the South California city of Long Beach. The contract is for ten all-electric buses as well as charging and diagnostic equipment, spare parts, and training.
BYD says it will put 10 new plug-in buses on the streets of Long Beach beginning next year, after assembling them in the Lancaster facility, with hopes of producing dozens more in coming years.
The BYD buses can run up to 150 miles with a full passenger load on a single charge, before needing a three-hour charge. The energy consumption of the BYD ebus is less than 100 kWh per 60 miles.
Due to the fact that the contract BYD signed is partly funded by the government, 60% of the parts must be made in America. This will be continuously audited throughout the contract to ensure BYD complies.
BYD has an assembly site under construction in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, for its K9 electric buses. Opening ceremonies at the Lancaster plant are set for May 1. BYD expects once the Lancaster plant is operational it should be able to produce 500 all-electric buses each year
With increasingly strict air-quality rules and plenty of government subsidies available, the potential market for electric buses is sizable. As existing fleets age and buses with diesel engines are scrapped, public transit agencies will be shopping for thousands of eco-friendly vehicles in the next few years.
When Long Beach officials agreed last month to buy the 10 electric buses from BYD for $11.5 million, the announcement triggered criticism from competitors who said US taxpayer dollars should be spent with companies that are already building in the US.
A lawyer for one of BYD’s competitors for the Long Beach contract, South Carolina–based Proterra Inc., even wrote a 16-page letter to the city’s transit officials expressing their discontent.
As well as manufacturing the buses, BYD supplies complementary charging stations for the electric buses. This is something rival US bidders could not offer for the Long Beach deal.