The city of Lancaster and BYD (Build Your Dreams) has been in discussion since early last year for a potential electric car manufacturing plant in Lancaster Ca. The city sent a delegation to China for that purpose in 2010. BYD manufactures an electric crossover vehicle called the e6 electric and said it expected to start selling the car in the U.S. The city of Lancaster would like BYD to manufacture and assemble this vehicle and others in Antelope Valley. Also, during the Schwarzenegger administration there was talk of the city of Los Angeles pledging to buy BYD manufactured electric buses if the plant was based in LA County. BYD has yet to make any formal announcements regarding their plans. Although, they have established a US headquarters in the city of Los Angeles, and expect up to 2000 employees over time to administer their US operations in their downtown Los Angeles location.
They further set up roots by establishing a collaborative partnership to develop a grid-scale battery project for renewable energy storage with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) last year. Also, about a year ago the City of Lancaster, BYD and KB Home announced the completion of a new earth-friendly prototype home utilizing BYD’s solar, battery and LED Lighting systems. The plan is to potentially lead to more affordable solar electricity and energy storage options for homeowners. The city accelerated the development process through the planning department, so KB and BYD could construct the prototype home immediately. The manufacturing and assembly of electric cars and buses would certainly be a boom for the city of Lancaster and Los Angeles County; as such a move would create jobs and future growth to a city that was damaged by the housing crisis.
BYD was founded by Wang Chuan-Fu in 1995 in Shenzhen, China. He is a chemist and part of the Chinese Dream as he raised $300,000 from relatives to manufacture rechargeable batteries. Since then BYD has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cell-phone batteries. They have also raised $250 million from Warren Buffet toward their e6 vehicle. They plan on manufacturing 800,000 e6 cars powered by lithium-ion batteries, where they indicate they intend to start selling the e6 in the US at a price of about $40,000.
In addition they have established a solar cell and solar panel technology, where they would like to establish their solar systems in combination with large energy storage systems that they currently develop. Based on news reports they plan on moving rapidly in developing and expanding in the solar panel arena. This relationship with the city of Lancaster works well as solar is expanding in the valley and Mayor Parrish projects that Lancaster will produce more energy than it consumes with its solar expansion.
We will wait and see if BYD expands manufacturing in the Antelope Valley, but the prospect looks promising for real estate and land values if the projects develop here.