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Chinese EV company muscles into US market

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

Chinese EV company BYD is breaking into America with an electric bus deal with the South California city of Long Beach. BYD has been awarded a contract worth US$11.5 million for ten all-electric buses as well as charging and diagnostic equipment, spare parts and training were included in the deal.

The KP buses run on long cycle-life iron-phosphate batteries that give a driving range of 155-miles before needing a three-hour charge. 

The contract stipulates 60% of the bus parts must be made in America, because the contract is partly government funded. This will be continuously audited throughout the contract to ensure BYD comply. With the majority of components for the buses made by BYD itself, it cannot therefore import parts.

For this end, BYD has an assembly site under construction in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles for its K9 electric buses, which should be operational this year and will output 500 all-electric buses each year. The company also has a headquarters in LA, showing dedication to market presence in the USA.

The factory and HQ mark its supply commitment to US as well as Latin America. This is exemplified in its deal with Colombia to supply electric buses to its capital city, Bogota.

As well as manufacturing the buses, BYD makes complimentary charging stations for the electric buses – something rival US bidders could not offer for the Long Beach deal.