BYD intends to be the largest electric bus manufacturer in North America
Chinese BYD (Build Your Dreams) opened its electric bus manufacturing plant in Lancaster, California in 2013 and delivered its first vehicle in 2014. Now, after six years, the company produced its 300th electric bus (for more than 50 municipal, transit agency, university, airport, federal and other commercial and private-sector bus customers from 13 states and four Canadian provinces) and at any given time, more than 80 buses are on the factory floor in various stages of assembly.
The vehicle no. 300th is a 35-foot BYD K9S model transit bus - one of three for Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Transit System (CATS).
Currently, BYD expanded its bus lineup in North America to 12 models - transit bus line ranges from 30-foot K7 to the 60-foot K11, and the coach line ranges from 23-foot C6 to the double-deck, 45-foot C10MS. The offer is also expanding to electric trucks and forklifts.
"When BYD opened its Lancaster manufacturing plant in 2013, it had a handful of employees working on 10 buses in a 106,000-square-foot building that once housed a motorhome manufacturing facility.
In just six years, BYD has grown to become the largest battery electric bus manufacturer in North America, with more than 750 employees. Since acquiring the facility, BYD has increased its manufacturing plant to over a half million square feet, with the capacity to produce as many as 1,500 buses a year.
In all, BYD has invested more than $250 million in North America, and in 2018 alone, has spent $70 million on components and services from American vendors – many from Southern California."
"For communities that want to deploy electric buses without the upfront cost, there are leasing options through BYD and its financial partner Generate Capital, a first-of-its-kind partnership."
Stella Li, BYD President said:
“We are very proud of this 300th American bus milestone. We are passionate about our mission to create a cleaner environment here in North America and across the globe,”.
“We knew our technology could make a real difference here, but we also knew that investing in an emerging North America electric vehicle market was a risk,”
At the same time, neighbor Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) - the first BYD customer in the U.S. - is celebrating the milestone of 1 million all-electric miles (to be reached in early May 2019).
AVTA was one of BYD’s first customers. In 2016, the AVTA board set a goal of becoming the nation’s first all-electric fleet, and vowed to convert all of its aging diesel buses. AVTA will achieve that conversion milestone later this year.
AVTA Chairman and City of Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist said:
“The Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s fleet of 75 currently includes about 30 electric buses, which will have completed a million miles of travel by the middle of next month. Thus far, approximately 252,000 gallons of diesel fuel has been saved with the new battery electric fleet. This equates to a net savings of $310,000 in fuel costs. We expect AVTA’s entire fleet to be converted to electric buses as we reach our second million miles, and the savings will be even greater by then - nearly $500,000 in fuel costs saved. Even more impressive, once our full fleet of 75 buses is complete, AVTA will boast 78% better energy efficiency; a carbon footprint reduced by 1.3 million pounds of CO2 annually; and, of course, a continued reduction in air and noise pollution."
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris termed 300th bus “the tip of the iceberg.”:
“BYD has continuously shown its dedication to our community and region at-large, since establishing its North American manufacturing facilities here in Lancaster,” Parris. “Along the way, BYD has established itself as the gold standard in the battery electric bus transportation industry. In fact, our local Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) will very soon have a 100% all-electric bus fleet. There were some skeptics when BYD chose Lancaster as home to its operations. Now these same skeptics are true believers, as they watch this world-class company continue to literally change the world for the better.”
Bobby Hill, BYD’s Vice President Coach and Bus, North America said:
“Because public transportation accounts for a vast portion of air pollution, BYD strategically moved to first help replace buses and commercial trucks across North America. And to do so, we wanted to offer multiple zero emission model choices to meet the various demands in the market, and to make the transition as easy as possible.”