BYD Signs One Of Largest Ever Electric Bus Contracts With LA Metro

BYD will be providing 60 all-electric buses to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in one of the largest electric buses contracts to date in the U.S.

LA Metro plans to place the 40-foot electric buses in its Silver Line bus service, which runs throughout the county, from El Monte into downtown LA and then south to San Pedro.

The Chinese vehicle manufacturer’s U.S. division will be adding 59 new manufacturing jobs to fulfill the LA Metro contract at its Lancaster, Calif., production facility.

“The communities along the Silver Line deserve clean air, and we’re glad that LA Metro is committing to electric operations,” said Stella Li, President of BYD America. “In addition to a quieter, zero-emissions ride along the Silver Line, these buses mean more manufacturing jobs in LA County.”

The acquisition was approved weeks after BYD signed an agreement with the Jobs to Move America Coalition that promotes environmental justice, workers’ rights, and air quality improvements. Coalition members include community, faith, labor, and environmental organizations.

LA Metro’s Silver Line route covers communities supported by the coalition for improvements in air quality. It’s similar to California legislative actions requiring clean vehicle programs to support low income, disadvantaged communities that are subject to higher concentration of air pollution and the resulting health hazards.

On the labor union side, BYD’s agreement with the coalition took place as the vehicle manufacturer continues union negotiations with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers Local 105.

“LA Metro is certainly right to be electrifying, and we’re particularly glad they are working with a company like BYD with a clear commitment to working with our community and labor partners to create a pipeline for underserved and underrepresented populations into good jobs,” said Erika Thi Patterson, national policy director at Jobs to Move America.

The 40-foot BYD bus has a range of over 160 miles per charge. That range comes from its iron-phosphate battery, which the company claims is the world’s only 100 percent fire safe, completely recyclable EV battery capable of being uses for up to 30 years.

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Other transit agencies are considering the 60-foot articulated all-electric bus that BYD offers. The bus provides up to 200 miles per charge and can carry up to 60 passengers.

In May, Antelope Valley Transit Authority, took delivery of the first BYD 60-foot electric buses offered in North America. The transit authority, which covers the area where BYD’s Lancaster factory is based, will be bringing in 13 of these business as the first step in converting its bus fleet to electrification by 2018.

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