BYD Co. is a Chinese automaker more famous for being partly owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., than its implication on the electric market.
While the manufacturer also has conventional fueled vehicles on sale, its biggest push comes in the segment of electric autos, especially in China. Because Chinese automakers have not been able to reach out to the US market as they planned for years, BYD took a more cautious, long-haul, approach and started selling and building electric buses for the US market. Now the producer has made an optimistic forecast, saying it could reach deliveries of almost 200 electric buses in the United States in 2015, thanks in part to the largest order coming from a mass-transit operator. The company secured a crucial contract in America from the Long Beach Transit Authority, which also reaches parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, according to BYD Senior Vice President Stella Li. The executive added the authority’s board decided to give the OK for an initial batch of ten initial buses – each worth around $800,000, and after that its partner agencies might purchase a total of 50 more. “Today’s order is a fundamental game changer for the industry,” commented Li.
The Shenzhen-based group started the local assembly last year in California of the electric buses in a drive to expand sales to the US, Canadian and Latin American countries and the new agreement signals the biggest so far outside its Chinese home base since it opened the US plant. The company so far delivered at least 5,000 electric buses worldwide, and around 50 units are already operational in America.