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BYD makes history with California bus factory
Published on: 2013-05-03
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altBYD Co on Wednesday became the first company from China to announce it will produce vehicles in the United States. It plans to build as many as 1,000 plug-in electric buses a year at a refurbished recreational-vehicle factory in the Mojave Desert city of Lancaster.
"We truly are making history," Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said. "Our community looks forward to working hand in hand with BYD as they develop and perfect their e-bus and energy-storage technology."
He said the manufacturing could potentially provide hundreds of jobs as BYD expands operations in the US and represents "a significant investment into our local economy and in California".
At a news conference outside the new plant, BYD Motors President Stella Li said the first of 10 zero-pollution vehicles has already been ordered by the city of Long Beach and is expected to roll off the assembly line in 2014.
She said BYD Motors expects to produce 50 buses a year by 2015 and to continue increasing production, with the intention of reaching the plant's capacity of 1,000 buses annually within two decades.
The buses will be powered by BYD's iron-phosphate batteries, which will be manufactured at another plant near the Lancaster bus factory.
In April, the Chinese company won a $12.1 million contract from the Long Beach transit authority to produce the 10 all-electric buses.
In Lancaster, BYD purchased a former Rexhall Industries RV factory for its electric-bus manufacturing operations. Rexhall CEO William Rex will stay on as general manager of the newly formed BYD Coach and Bus LLC.A number of Rexhall employees will be maintained as the plant shifts to new ownership.
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