Like the stop-an-go nature of the municipal routes its electric buses will be serving, the progression of China-based BYD and its goal to get cities to adopt its vehicles has not been a smooth one. This time, the news is about the city of Long Beach, CA. And it's not all good.

The issue is whether BYD complied with federal-funding rules.

The federal government has notified the city that BYD was eligible for bidding when it won a $12.1 million contract last March to supply the Los Angeles-adjacent city with 10 electric buses. The issue is whether BYD complied with federal-funding rules relating to passing on some of the resulting business to minority-owned entities, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. And since the feds were slated to foot the bill for $9.6 million of that $12.1 million, Long Beach may be forced to either cancel the contract or foot the entire bill for the contract itself.

"The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) informed Long Beach Transit that BYD is out of compliance with certain Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirements," Long Beach Transit Marketing Manager Kevin Lee wrote to AutoblogGreen. "As required, Long Beach Transit has given BYD a period in which they may attempt to cure. During that period, LBT will have no further comment regarding this issue."

"Constructive discussions with Long Beach Transit continue," BYD spokesman Micheal Austin wrote to AutoblogGreen. "We have no further comment at this time."

On the more positive side, the company said last week that the fines it was assessed by the Los Angeles Labor Commissioner for alleged labor violations were cut to $37,803 from $99,245. The charges stemmed from what BYD says is a "false" (yep, there's that word again) charge that it paid temporary workers from China at its Lancaster, CA, facility less than the state's minimum wage.

Earlier this month, BYD said it received an order from the China city of Dalian for 1,200 electric buses. And last summer, the city of Los Angeles agreed to purchase as many as 25 buses (no federal funds are involved), but that was followed up by news last September that some of the BYD buses being tested were developing frame cracks. You can check out BYD's press release on the fine reduction below.
Show full PR text
BYD Labor Issues Resolved by California Labor Commission, Minimum Wage Dispute Dropped, Technical Fines Reduced by Two-Thirds

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BYD is pleased that the decision by the Labor Commissioner Hearing Officer resulted in a reduction by almost two thirds - from $99,245 to $37,803 - in the fines assessed against BYD for good faith technical errors (such as allowing several workers one 20 minute break so they could have breakfast together rather than two 10 minute breaks).

BYD is especially happy that the false charge, unfortunately widely published in local and national media, of payments to five temporary Chinese professionals below California's minimum wage was dropped by the Commissioner before the hearing.

BYD is an American start-up company that has built two factories; an electric bus factory and an energy module factory in Lancaster, California, with an administrative office in Los Angeles and already created more than 50 jobs. We expect to double the new jobs to 100 by the end of this year, and doubling again to 200 jobs by 2015. We are proud of our zero-emission electric buses and longer lasting batteries than any other electric or hybrid bus manufacturer. We look forward to continued new jobs for California in years to come. Please visit www.byd.com/na/media/record.html.

About BYD

BYD is a publicly-traded company with no Chinese government ownership. In fact, U.S. investors own over 60 of that amount. Mr. Buffett and his colleagues recognize BYD's breakthrough battery and EV technologies: an electrified, 24-hour, and long-range battery that provides emission-free, silent, and economic public and private transportation.

As the world's largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, BYD's mission is to create safer and more environmentally-friendly battery technologies, and this has produced the BYD Iron Phosphate Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable, and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the foundation of BYD's clean energy platforms.


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  • 17 Comments
      Thereminator
      • 9 Months Ago
      So American Taxpayers are footing most of the bill to help China's economy? WTF is wrong with that picture?
        brotherkenny4
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Thereminator
        The tax payer funds are to support clean vehicles that reduce local pollution levels that affect the health of local people, and to reduce the fuel consumption of the busses so that we don't support the funders of terrorism. If US bus manufacturers had a bus that was as acceptable as the BYD busses, I am sure that LA and Long Beach would buy american over chinese.
          lad
          • 9 Months Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          U.S. auto/bus makers are locked-into oil products because the oil companies own our politicians. That's why Long Beach had to go outside. I don't like the idea of Chinese Buses; but, the Oil companies control the energy market in the U.S., In fact, they control the Government, and if you care about local smog and health issues, you seek alternatives. In this case, I would like to see Long Beach finance the deal to force U.S. companies to consider using more EBs(electric buses).
        Actionable Mango
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Thereminator
        I assume what's wrong with that picture is that US electric bus makers didn't make a bus that was as good as China's or they would have won the bid. If you are implying we should pass a law to buy US only, then the resulting protectionism starts a trade war. China retaliates by slapping huge tariffs on US goods such as cars, chicken, and Boeing jets. So the Chinese start buying more Japanese cars, Brazilian chicken, and Airbus jets. So in order to protect one US bus maker that couldn't compete, you've now hurt all kinds of US companies that were competing just fine in a fair market.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Thereminator
        You cant do nothing against free market, BYD is the best electric bus.
          Mbukukanyau
          • 9 Months Ago
          You cant do nothing against free market, BYD is the cheapest electric bus. (Fixed that for you)
          Levine Levine
          • 9 Months Ago
          Mbukukanyau: You aint doing nuttin against no free market, BYD is making yall heads spin and kickin yo but, you no what I'm saying? (fixed that for you, too)
          Thereminator
          • 9 Months Ago
          Since when did "Free enterprise" force me(and you)to pay for a foreign product? Not too free...and while the BYDs battery system looks to be the best,I wouldn't bet that their quality is better than the American made Proterra.
        Actionable Mango
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Thereminator
        I assume what's wrong with that picture is that US electric bus makers didn't make a bus that was as good as China's or they would have won the bid. If you are implying we should pass a law to buy US only, then the resulting protectionism starts a trade war. China retaliates by slapping huge tariffs on US goods such as cars, chicken, and Boeing jets. So the Chinese start buying more Japanese cars, Brazilian chicken, and Airbus jets. So in order to protect one US bus maker that couldn't compete, you've now hurt all kinds of US companies that were competing just fine in a fair market.
          Thereminator
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          I can see that possibility,but based on prior tariff wars(like tires),and our trade imbalance...I don't see it as probable. In general,I don't agree with subsidies,so subsidizing foreign products makes that act even more unjust.The silver lining is that it advances electric vehicles.
      Jesse Gurr
      • 9 Months Ago
      If only tesla made busses...
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Months Ago
      The unspoken message: Special Interest Groups feel threaten by electric buses imported from China.
      pudgie_child
      • 9 Months Ago
      $12.1 million pays for only 10 electric buses???
      2 wheeled menace
      • 9 Months Ago
      Sorry, not enough minorities working there.
      skierpage
      • 9 Months Ago
      "BYD received an order from the China city of Dalian for 1,200 electric buses." Actual announcement "BYD sells 1,200 electric buses to the city of Dalian in 2014 and 2015." This is another case of BYD announcing a huge misleading order to the government where it has a factory (Shenzen taxis! Shenzen taxis!). Elsewhere "BYD announces the opening of a new electric bus manufacturing facility in the Dalian Huayuankou Economic Zone." Dalian is yet another huge Chinese city few have heard of (population of 6M!), but I refuse to believe it's going to spend a billion dollars on electric buses in the next two years. More realistically, it'll result in the delivery of a few dozen EV buses, like this one: "Nanjing Public Transportation Group announced an order for 600 BYD electric buses, 50 of which were delivered for the city’s Youth Olympic Games in August 2014." I'm glad BYD is making EVs. But everyone should assume that whatever they say is stretching a grain of truth into a billion dollars of phony revenue.
      • 9 Months Ago
      why are they having "no safety standard china" make EV busses, when there are dozens of companies here in the U.S. converting vehicles to Electric/hybrid ALTe Powertrain Technologies, Auburn Hills Michigan
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