BYD, often referred to as the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker, is now finishing the third phase of its expansion of its U.S. production facility in Lancaster, California - now capable of building up to 1,500 electric buses annually.
Previously, the assembly plant was able to produce up to 350 buses - which was still a heck of a lot.
After four years BYD is now employing more than 700 people.
According to Stella Li, president of BYD Motors America, orders for electric buses are popping up all over the U.S. and even Canada. Currently the largest order was received from Denver, and just a few weeks ago the Board of Los Angeles Metro, one of the largest transportation systems in the United States, voted to award a contract for 60 40-foot all-electric buses to BYD.
BYD will also produce commercial electric trucks, electric refuse trucks and electric forklifts.
An interesting note is that BYD finally feels comfortable operating in the North America, as it's not easy for Chinese company (especially an automaker) to enter U.S. Pretty soon it will be time to introduce BYD's lineup of plug-in passenger vehicles to the US public - we can't wait!
"Li said her company initially faced customer resistance in the U.S. amid concerns that a Chinese company wouldn't stick around very long.
"Now it's much easier," she said, adding that attitudes changed as the company explained it was among the largest battery-makers in the world and could offer a 12-year warranty.
"Then we demonstrate the technology over and over," she said, noting that there were initial concerns about electric vehicles' range and performance, but the technology was now mature and accepted.
"Now more people view BYD as a global company," Li said."