Thursday, September 24, 2015
BYD Increases Bus Sales In Washington State
AVPress LANCASTER - BYD's electric bus factory got a boost with Washington state transportation officials' selection of BYD for 10 of 12 types of electric buses expected to be ordered by Washington transit agencies and other entities. The selection does not constitute orders for bus production, but it sets price agreements for buses that Washington transit agencies, colleges, cities, Indian nations and nonprofit organizations can order over the next five years, Washington officials said. "It's huge news, huge news," Mayor R. Rex Parris said. "We've always been very confident the world was going to wake up, that this is the new form of bus transportation. There's not any serious competition anywhere in the world." The Washington State Department of Transportation Heavy Duty Bus Request for Proposal is intended to allow agencies to buy new buses without having to perform their own solicitation, analysis and awards, said David Chenaur, a business analyst with the department's public transportation division. In all, the department approved 26 categories of buses of varying lengths and engines - clean diesel, hybrid, compressed natural gas, plug-in electric and on-route charging electric - for a potential total purchase of 800 buses, Chenaur said. Link Transit in Wenatchee, Washington, has already ordered five BYD buses, he said. "These orders put us into a great position for expansion," said Micheal Austin, BYD America vice president.The company employs more than 300 people at the Lancaster plant and elsewhere in Southern California, he said. BYD's buses were the only ones with wireless on-routing charging approved by Washington officials, the company said."Electric buses are no longer a science fair project. With BYD now producing a long-range bus in nearly every category we have proven the technology is here to stay," Macy Meshati, BYD Coach & Bus vice president of sales, said in the company's announcement. BYD has a contract with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for up to 25 buses, and a 10-bus contract with Long Beach Transit. The first five Metro buses were delivered in May.The Antelope Valley Transit Authority also plans to buy 29 electric buses beyond the two BYD buses it already has. BYD officials in May 2013 dedicated the Lancaster plant, which is the first Chinese-owned vehicle plant in the United States. BYD officials are talking with city officials about doubling the plant's size, not only to accommodate increased bus production but to build electric delivery trucks as well, Parris said. More expansion could follow that, he said. Parris said the firm's local employment is expected to reach 700 in two years. "BYD is going to be bigger than aircraft (employment) has ever been," Parris said. In January, GO-Biz, the state's economic development office, allocated $3 million in tax credits to BYD. The credits will be given provided the company meets certain employment and investment milestones. Under the tax credit agreement, BYD must ramp up its workforce to at least 243 workers in 2016, to 388 in 2017 and to 625 in 2018. BYD must pay a minimum annual salary of $27,040 and an average annual salary of $44,110 by 2018, under the agreement, and is required to make investments of $51 million by 2018.