Long Beach Cancels BYD Electric Bus Contract Over Application Error


BYD North America

The city of Long Beach cancelled the winning bid from China’s BYD to provide electric buses to the California city over a rather silly omission. While both Long Beach and BYD expect to re-win the $12.3 million electric bus contract, this issue highlights the unending hurdles companies have to leap through to bring vehicles to the road.

BYD failed to include what percentage of its business it plans to get from “disadvantaged” (i.e. poor/minority) businesses per the Federal government’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program. It took city officials nine months to find the problem, cancelling the winning bid and forcing BYD to re-file for the contract. BYD opted not to appeal as a good faith gesture. But Chief Executive Stella Li was obviously not happy with the situation, saying;

“It is surprising that the FTA waited nine months to withdraw funding from this contract—after BYD spent millions of dollars—due to what can only fairly be described as a technical error that in no way casts doubt on our deep commitment to purchase from disadvantaged businesses.”

Unfortunately for BYD, not dotting its i’s or crossing its t’s will cost it a lot of money, and time. The bidding process will take another three months, adding more time to the long wait for the record-setting all-electric buses. And while BYD is confident it will win the bid once again, there’s always the chance another electric bus maker, such as Proterra, could snipe the lucrative contract.

If it did lose the contract, that would be a major setback for BYD’s ambitious American expansion plans, which have stalled time and again. BYD is learning the hard way how American government works.

Basically, not well.

Source: L.A. Business Journal

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • rogerclegg

    Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all
    in deciding who gets awarded a contract?
    It’s good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that
    bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets
    discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin
    color, etc. either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a
    “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to
    the same thing. Such discrimination is
    unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and
    businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder;
    and it’s almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C.
    section 1981 and this model brief: http://www.pacificlegal.org/document.doc?id=454
    Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued,
    and they will lose.

    • INB4 someone calls Roger a racist.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Roger isn’t a racist.

        Just ask him.

        He’s just asserting his natural superiority as a white, able-bodied, straight male.

        • rogerclegg

          I’m opposing discrimination and preferences based on race, ethnicity, or sex, and as my post notes I’m all in favor of taking proactive measures to ensure equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. I don’t think that makes me a racist or any other kind of supremacist.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How do you propose we make up for the racial inequality that now exists?

          • rogerclegg

            We should enforce the laws we have against racial discrimination in a way that protects everyone from ongoing discrimination; of course, if someone can show that they have suffered damage from a particular act of discrimination, the law also provides them relief. And there’s nothing wrong with programs that provide help to disadvantaged individuals of all colors, but I would not use race as a proxy for disadvantage, since there are people of all colors at every point along the socioeconomic spectrum. These contracting programs, btw, sometimes now discriminate against minorities (e.g., Latinos); that was recently true of Caltrans.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s the problem.

            White guys, thanks to centuries of privilege, are way out front in terms of opportunity.

            How do you suggest we give women and minorities the same opportunities that white men have?

          • rogerclegg

            With all respect, you are making generalizations that you don’t need to make. SOME white guys are way out in front, but some aren’t; SOME minorities are way behind, but some aren’t; same thing with women. If you want to level the playing field by giving special consideration or help of some kind to people who are behind, fine, but don’t base it on race — base it on being behind, so that poor whites as well as poor minorities are included, and so that rich minorities as well as rich whites are not. The fact that a higher proportion of this or that group may be poor will result in them being more likely to be eligible for the program, which if fine, and you have avoided the problem of making it racially discriminatory.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, you’re living in denial land.

            We’ve got far too many studies showing that white males have unearned advantage.

            Extending extra opportunity to “poors” will only mean that poor white guys will win out over poor women and minorities.

          • rogerclegg

            I would make racial discrimination of that politically incorrect kind illegal — and indeed it is — rather than try to correct it by piling a system of politically correct discrimination on top of it. But I’m happy to agree to disagree.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It might be illegal, but it commonly occurs.

            When someone offers to agree to disagree that generally means that they’ve realized that their position is flawed. I hope that’s the case with you and you are now going to spend some time thinking about how we right the wrongs we white males are causing.

          • rogerclegg

            No, sorry — I just think we’ve reached the point of substantially diminished returns. Have a nice weekend, though.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You, too.

            And do spend a bit of time trying to figure out how to not be a free-loader.

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