With the delivery of two electric buses to the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, BYD has become the first Chinese automaker to build a vehicle in America. That’s a big milestone, and all the bigger because those vehicles are all-electric buses vying for big transit contracts from coast to coast.
Rated at 155 miles per charge, the BYD electric buses are quiet-running and zero emissions, two great selling for taxpayers. Municipal governments, meanwhile, could stand to save big bucks on costly diesel fuel that mosts buses currently use, which is why Los Angeles has already signed a contract to take delivery of up to 25 of the electric buses. BYD had a $12.1 million with Long Beach, but it was canceled over a contract clause, forcing BYD to re-submit its bid.
A minor setback which hasn’t slowed the Chinese automaker’s efforts to start building vehicles in America, and while the initial workforce consists of just 60 people, BYD hopes to employ 200 people by the end of 2015. Destined for service in the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, mostly in the city of Lancaster just north of L.A.
It was many moons ago that BYD first announced its American ambitions, and they’ve been delayed time and again, so imagine the collective sigh of relief at the delivery of these first buses. Whether consumers are ready for Chinese-built electric vehicles remains to be seen, but for now at least, EV buses are on the menu.