Omaha, we have a problem. BYD, the China-based vehicle maker that's about 10 percent owned by Warren Buffett ("The Oracle of Omaha") is facing questions about the reliability of electric buses that are targeted for use by the city of Long Beach, CA, after cracks were found in some of the buses' frames during their testing period, according to the Long Beach Business Journal. The culprit may be substandard welding on the so-called "engineering" buses specifically being used for strength testing before being put into use. BYD says the bus cracks are "common" during that particular stage of strength testing.

Additionally, BYD was fined $100,000 by the state of California for alleged violations of minimum wage laws, according to The New York Times. BYD, which has also sold buses to the city of Los Angeles and has taken over a bus-assembly factory in nearby Lancaster, CA, had brought in about a half-dozen employees from China to train factory workers. The company said the workers that spurred the California wage fine aren't subject to state laws because they're working in the state on temporary work visas. BYD's North American headquarters are in Los Angeles.

This summer, Los Angeles reached an agreement buy 25 new buses from BYD, the city's first that are all-electric, as part of a $30 million clean-air project, and said another 20 buses may be acquired. BYD says the buses, which use BYD-made iron phosphate rechargeable batteries, have a single-charge range of about 155 miles. That Los Angeles announcement followed up an agreement from Long Beach to buy 10 buses, a decision that South Carolina-based Proterra blasted because of what it said were questions about the vehicles' reliability and the fact that the buses are made overseas.


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  • 13 Comments
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      155 miles rocks! What an odd story though. Yes, it has to do with electric vehicles, but the flaw has nothing to do with the electric system. And complaints of Chinese built, when the Chinese are building the bus in California? I am not a fan of so much stuff being built in china, but, here is a story about a test vehicle that was built in California having frame issues, and also wage issues by people working on temporary visas. Might as well denigrate the Chevy Volt because a secondary supplier's line worker abused his wife. I know Rak will disagree, but there are plenty of cool stories over at realclearenergy that span both sides of the political spectrum, and go to all sources. This story, and subsequent reaction is just odd.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a conspiracy to tarnish the good name of Electric Buses by buying CRAP Bus's. No sane person would buy a Chinese Electric Bus.
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The company said the workers that spurred the California wage fine aren't subject to state laws because they're working in the state on temporary work visas." That's not how it works, BYD: http://www.dol.gov/whd/immigration/h2b.htm "The H-2B nonimmigrant program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peakload need or intermittent need. The H-2B program requires the employer to attest to the Department of Labor that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable Federal minimum wage, the State minimum wage, or local minimum wage to the H-2B nonimmigrant worker for the occupation in the area of intended employment during the entire period of the approved H-2B labor certification." Case closed. BYD must comply with the law. Pay the clerk on the way out.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Nick Kordich
        What's the penalty for violations?
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Under California law, it appears to be $100 per pay period per employee initially, $200 for subsequent violations. There are additional federal penalties of up to $10,000 for the first incident that might apply. http://www.mayerbrown.com/Recent-Developments-In-State-Wage-Theft-Prevention-Statutes-09-09-2013/ http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm#Penalites A web search turned up additional details: "[the fines cover] failing to provide minimum wage, workers’ compensation insurance, a second rest break, and sufficient documentation of pay, for workers in Los Angeles. According to the New York Times, Chinese-national workers were working for BYD in Los Angeles for up to six months, living in dormitory-style housing in the San Gabriel Valley, and earning just $1.50 an hour plus a $50-per-day allowance. According to the Los Angeles Times, BYD was fined $79,250 and ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in back wages for violations involving 22 employees, including some employees at BYD’s Lancaster, California factory." http://www.laane.org/whats-new/2013/10/28/chinese-electric-bus-company-byd-labor-law-violations/
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Warren Buffet bought a Chinese Company? Say it ain't so, say it ain't so.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        Pssst.....warren buffet supports Obama and the democrats...ixnay on the itisism-cray
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        And by that I mean China Products have the world worst reputation for quality. Consumer Reports is going to add a -1 rating just to accommodate how badly Chinese Quality is.
          Technoir
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Everything is made in China, including your computer and your smartphone.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @tech Mmmmm, not everything. Many chips and boards are built elsewhere, and the Moto X is built in the USA. That said, quality control is quality control. Apple phones and tablets, which, along with the HTC One, have the highest ratings of quality, are Chinese built (although self correction - isn't the HTC one built in Taiwan?). Wi china, there are different situations. In many cases, they simply say, 'send us the specs and we will build it.' This method is wrought with peril, as you are relying on them for the QC. In apple's, and some other's case, they monitor QC of the products to ensure they meet standards. And when the employees start jumping off the building in too great a number, then they give wage hikes. Unfortunately I am not being sarcastic on the latter...
          Technoir
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          EZEE The term "Made in" often refers to the place of assembly. The Moto X may very well be made of parts of which 80% were made in China, 20% in the U.S., and fully assembled in the U.S.
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      Production vehicles from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Fiat, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, VW, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, and etc., have numerous recalls to remedy various problems over the years. Nevertheless, Americans don't generalize that Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, or USA only produce junk or crappy products. When a test vehicle built by BYD develops problems, all hell breaks loose, and the ugly Americans come out of the wood-work calling another 'Chinese made junk.' Evidently, Yellow Peril propaganda has fomented hysteria.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Do you live in another country? We buy the junk WalMart sells. China can't even make finger nail clippers that don't break.
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