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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

China firms sign deal for high-speed Las Vegas-Los Angeles rail link ahead of Xi's U.S. visit

Press Release regarding High Speed Rail from Las Vegas to Los Angeles BEIJING | BY BRENDA GOH A unit of China's CRRC Corp, the world's biggest train maker by revenue, on Thursday joined a group of its domestic peers in agreeing a deal to help build a high-speed link from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, underlining the rail giant's lofty overseas ambitions. Announced in a joint statement by the Chinese firms and U.S. partner XpressWest at a government forum in Beijing, the deal is the latest in a series of deeper Sino-American business ties to be unveiled before President Xi Jinping visits the United States next week. Computer maker Dell Inc said it will invest $125 billion in China, and new bilateral investment treaty offers have been exchanged. CRRC, formed from a state-driven merger of China's two largest train makers, is among a large group of the country's rail firms that has inked an accord for the project with XpressWest, a venture set up by Las Vegas-based hotel and casino developer Marnell Companies. Investment terms weren't disclosed. Gary Wong, a Hong Kong-based analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan, estimated that the project could be worth $5 billion. He said that although it would likely offer the many Chinese firms involved little financial benefit, it was significant for their long-term goals. "If this opens up the U.S. market for them, opportunities for future expansion will increase. And if (their technology) is used in the United States, it will be easier for them to sell to other countries," he said. CRRC is leading China's aggressive pursuit of overseas high-speed rail deals in competition with traditional suppliers such as Germany's Siemens AG and France's Alstom SA. Beijing recently clinched contracts in Russia, although it has faced hurdles in Mexicoand Indonesia due to bureaucratic flip-flops in those countries. US POTENTIAL The United States is a key target for China's rail industry, even though policymakers have been split over the need for high-speed rail and some have taken a dim view of Chinese involvement in potentially strategic deals. Most of a dozen or so U.S. projects lined up have struggled to gain traction, leaving the country far behind Europe and Asia in this area. XpressWest won the green light for the 230-mile high-speed line linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 2011 and applied for a federal loan in 2010, according to the company's website. It did not say whether its loan application had been successful. The U.S. company didn't respond to calls or emails seeking comment on the project after the partnership deal with the Chinese firms - grouped in a Nevada-based venture called China Railway International U.S.A. - was announced. XpressWest and the Chinese firms said in their statement that the accord would help accelerate the project without disclosing details of how it would achieve that. Additional regulatory approvals will be required before the construction begins, expected early as September 2016. "The United States market is huge because the fact is that their railway tracks and facilities are aging and need upgrading," Cao Gangcai, CRRC's vice chief economist, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, before the XpressWest deal was announced. The company plans to grow its share of revenue from work overseas to 30 percent within the next five years, he said. Having completed its merger in May, it booked first-half revenue of 91.8 billion yuan ($14.42 billion), only 12 percent of which was booked overseas. "We want to attain the position we deserve in the global market...There is no other company on earth that is able to simultaneously research and produce high-speed trains, electric multiple units, subways," he said.