Electric bus production has finally begun in California. Chinese electric automaker BYD recently completed its first two vehicles at its new factory in Lancaster, CA. They will be joining the fleet of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Los Angles County.

According to Bloomberg, the BYD factory currently employs 60 people and plans to grow to 200 workers by 2015. It will have an annual capacity of 200 vehicles by that time. The company already has a contract for as many 25 buses from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is working with Stanford University as well. The people-carriers are also being evaluated by other cities around the US and Canada. A test in New York City found that they could drive about 30 hours between charges with a range of about 155 miles. Demand is doing well in China, too – the city of Dalian recently placed an order for 1,200 buses.

BYD has had a somewhat rocky path to get this factory working in the Golden State. Its $12.1-million contract with Long Beach, CA, was nullified because the federal government said not enough of the business went to minority-owned entities. The company was also fined $37,083 by California for alleged labor violations.

The automaker has plans to sell more than just buses in the US, though. Bloomberg claims that BYD is working to bring its passenger cars to the US, as well, with four models expected to be on sale at the end of 2015. It previously tried to break into the US market in 2010 but wasn't able to. Perhaps this second time will be a success.


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  • 65 Comments
      Victor Hoyles
      • 7 Months Ago
      I recently visited Shenzhen, China for business and had a few trips in the BYD e6 taxi's that were launched there as a pilot project. The e6 is the size of a Toyota Matrix and although they are very slow vehicles, in a taxi application they are quite adequate.
      zanhei
      • 7 Months Ago
      Many racist anti-China teabagers going on autoblog. I will not mad because I think how funny the stupidity is for the world. You have been destroyed by right wing government that give too much freedom to the lazy people of America. American pigs too stupid to be free and have money because they waste it and be greedy and destroy the success and they depend on government. American is now inferior to China because people are out of control with too much money and being materialistic and very lazy to work. America is now fat pig and be destroyed by the superior of China government. People of China will be superior to you now. You and the Japanese pig going down in the trash and Russian make your president Obama scared!! HAHAHAHAHA!! No more America!!
        gpmp
        • 7 Months Ago
        @zanhei
        Meanwhile, the US economy remains the most productive in the world.
        Levine Levine
        • 7 Months Ago
        @zanhei
        You're shill, a bad one at that. Your intentional grammatical error is too revealing. Too bad so many bloggers take you for the real McCoy.
          Lachmund
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          way to be a racist idiot yourself zanhei
          zanhei
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          You speak other language to see hwo that sounds to the world. You stupid American. You have been wanting to ignoret that America is falling by making fun of my message in English. Stupid Americans have damage America.
        Lachmund
        • 7 Months Ago
        @zanhei
        nationalism and the feeling of superiority is stupid on both sides...you are nothing better than these uneucated racists on here zanhei.
        Ken Mam
        • 7 Months Ago
        @zanhei
        How long before your economy crashes because of over-building and over-expansion? One thing to learn is the law of supply and the law of demand. Unless there's a need or a demand for a product, service, or goods, then your economy is riding on a "ghost" supply of goods and services. How many ghost cities are there in china? How many empty office buildings are there? How many skilled personals are there? Everything is back by the government pushing companies to build when there is not a demand.
        Montie
        • 7 Months Ago
        @zanhei
        中国政府很邪恶。zanhei 你是有史以来最笨的人。
      churchmotor
      • 7 Months Ago
      So Obama waste BILLIONS of dollars on alternative energy companies that all go bankrupt, then California buys Electric Buses from China. SMH
        Zoom
        • 7 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        That ALL went bankrupt? Sources please. And no, citing solyndra does not count. Anyway, China continues to provide corporate welfare and money for research. We only provided money for research for a couple of years then quit (thanks, Sequester). So..until we're willing to fully fund research and innovation for the long term through organizations such as the NSF, things like this will keep happening.
          churchmotor
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Zoom
          No problem Zoom. Abengoa $2.8 Billion failing Solyndra: $570.4 million Beacon Power: $67.4 million Abound Solar: $494.3 million Vehicle Production Group (VPG): $50 million Fisker Automotive: $160 million A123 Systems: $390.1 million Amonix: $29.6 million Azure Dynamics: $119.1 million Babcock & Brown: $178 million Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: $400,000 Cephas Industries: 500,000 ECOtality Inc.: $135 million EnerDel, subsidiary of Ener1: $182.8 million Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD): $110.3 million Evergreen Solar, Inc.: $84.9 million Flagbeg Solar U.S.: $20.2 million GreenVolts: $500,000 Konarka Technologies Inc: $55.7 million MiaSolé: $101.8 million Mountain Plaza, Inc.: $400,000 Nordic WindPower: $8.6 million Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: $10.8 million Range Fuels: $162.3 million Raser Technologies: $33 million ReVolt Technology: $10 million Satcon Technology Corporation: $17 million SpectraWatt: $20.5 million Stirling Energy Systems: $17.4 million Suntech, subsidiary of Suntech Power: $2.1 million Thompson River Power LLC: $6.5 million Willard and Kelsey Solar Group: $12.7 million Xtreme Power: at least $600,000 in stimulus grants
          GoodCheer
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Zoom
          church, if you statement was that all funded companies went bankrupt, simply providing a list of some companies that went bankrupt is, insufficient. More useful would be providing the full list of all funded companies, so we can see if there are any solvent ones on the list (ie. falsifiability).
        Larry Litmanen
        • 7 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        They really have no choice, because unions run CA government always has very little money and have to buy from companies that can provide a very low price. From what i read buses are replaced very often because they get so many miles on them so for Cali Transit long term quality is not all that important.
      lendersmith
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sounds like BYD is making it DESPITE being in CA. "Welcome to CA. To welcome you, we're nullifying your contract and fining you $37K." What a bunch of maroons.
        Lachmund
        • 7 Months Ago
        @lendersmith
        what do the poor maroons have to do with that?!
        CeeJayABG
        • 7 Months Ago
        @lendersmith
        lendersmith, you should research the nature of BYD's violations. Yes, there is some "Californication" of what one might consider reasonable protection of workers, but in fact the BYD leadership team exercised bad judgment.
          Nick Kordich
          • 7 Months Ago
          @CeeJayABG
          The state cancelled roughly $60k in fines that were originally levied against BYD that had to do with the workplace and living conditions of the Chinese workers they brought in on H-2B visas. The spin on that was it was all a misunderstanding and they were let off with a warning. The remaining $37k came from a failure to pay the Chinese workers minimum wage, as required by the federal H-2B program. There was no mistake there - BYD fought it and said that didn't apply to Chinese workers working for a Chinese company in California. The program and California law unambiguously said it did, so BYD had to pay the back pay and the fines.
      lasertekk
      • 7 Months Ago
      Fifty some years ago, Japanese manufactures set up shop in Southern California, to be close the ports of LA and Long Beach, and to have access the huge local market. The Chinese are now doing the same.
        zanhei
        • 7 Months Ago
        @lasertekk
        But Chinese are different from dumb Japanese businessmen. China now own you stupid right wing government. You no longer land of the free you now lazy pigs that depend on government!
          Lachmund
          • 7 Months Ago
          @zanhei
          concerning your comments on here zanhei chinese are different being stupid and overestimating themselves..something the japanese would never do.
          Montie
          • 7 Months Ago
          @zanhei
          Zanhei. 去你的。
      Larry Litmanen
      • 7 Months Ago
      "BYD has had a somewhat rocky path to get this factory working in the Golden State. Its $12.1-million contract with Long Beach, CA, was nullified because the federal government said not enough of the business went to minority-owned entities. "---------------------------------wow
      IBx27
      • 7 Months Ago
      Can't wait for these to go up in flames while charging at the station.
      SloopJohnB
      • 7 Months Ago
      HOW long does it take to charge one up after it's run for 30 hours? 60? 200?
        ElectricAvenue
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        If you were willing to do approximate one minute of web searching, you would find the manufacturer's web site which states "full charging from 0-100% SOC within 5 hours". Next?
      Johnny Chan
      • 7 Months Ago
      and their taxi was exploded when it was charging in the charging station in Hong Kong.
      Daily AutoBlog
      • 7 Months Ago
      There is something fishy about a new Chinese bus factory built in the same town as Lockheed Martin Skunkworks and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. Spying enough China?
        CeeJayABG
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Daily AutoBlog
        I am neither supporting nor defending the project, nor would I be dumb enough to deny China's significant espionage efforts. But recognize that California supported the construction of the facility in Lancaster because of a slowdown in employment there.
      axton72op8
      • 7 Months Ago
      thats great. most buses in the college are where i live use natural gas, and my and most neighborhoods draw from wind farms. as far as pollution goes, everything else is obsolete. nuclear=fukishima ocean disaster, three mile, chernobyl. coal=asthma and breathing problems. oil=bp deepwater, multiple spills. basically what im saying is youre all inferior...
      CeeJayABG
      • 7 Months Ago
      It seems like politics or nationalism has to cloud the perception of a majority of AB commenters. Sad. Here are some actual facts: -- Federal grant money is always, ALWAYS saddled with ostensibly "beneficial" prerequisites for a variety of social interests. This is applied to every grantee, but especially local governments. This was FTA TIGGER money (I'm not kidding), and it was Long Beach Transport's responsibility to see that Disadvantaged Business requirement was fulfilled. LBT was warned before the FTA formally announced the missing DBE commitment and subsequent postponement. Blame LBT as much as BYD. For those of you astounded by such encumbrances, you should read actual legislation some time between surfing your favorite partisan news sources. -- The word "alleged" in reference to BYDs labor violations is incorrect. This was the settlement reached by BYD with the state of California in recognition of BYD's actual ADMITTED violations. Now, you might say that the circumstances of the violation (Chinese visiting workers being paid in RMB and housed in a workers dorm in San Gabriel) have not been reliably reported, hence the word "alleged" might apply in questioning the more hyperbolic versions of the story. But BYD broke the rules. -- FWIW, for the right-leaning opponents to this event, BYD's general counsel in the US is Lanny Davis, former GC to Pres. Clinton. -- For the left-leaning opponents, the leading advocate to leave LBT alone and allow them to receive the grant money despite the protests of domestic competitors was one Rep. Darrell Issa. -- For those just spectating the political intrigues, rumor has it that there was a particularly strong arm used on the FTA to postpone the award. That would be somebody advocating for Proterra, and he would be doing so as a key Board member of the largest Proterra investor, Kleiner-Perkins. You guessed it: Albert Gore, Jr. So anyway everybody gets to rant about the evil conspiracy that thwarts his particular interest. In the meantime we'll see if BYD busses have the endurance and performance needed at the promised price. If they do they'll succeed. If not, then someone else will do it. End of story.
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