BYD Co., the Chinese automaker that sold more electric cars in 2015 than Tesla, Nissan, and GM combined, has found a way to introduce their battery-powered bus into the American market.
Build Your Dreams (BYD Co.) has found a way to sidestep the cost and risk of consumer sales by providing rechargeable buses to environmentally-minded transit agencies. Their factory opened in 2013 just north of Los Angeles, Calif. and is expected to provide 300 buses this year alone.
This is not the first time BYD Co. has worked in the U.S. auto market. They have also launched test fleets of plug-in electric taxis in Chicago and New York City.
The first two buses produced in the Lancaster, Calif. factory were shipped to the nearby Antelope Valley Transit Authority, which plans to launch the first all-electric U.S. fleet.
According to the Associated Press, The Antelope Valley Transit Authority is purchasing 85 BYU buses for a total of $72 million. This transaction will include 60-foot-long articulated buses that can transport 120 people 200 miles on a single charge, 30 commuter coach buses, and 41 40-foot standard buses.
The standard buses are priced at $660,000 in comparison to the diesel hybrids which cost upwards of $500,000. However, since the maintenance is significantly cheaper, the agency expects to make their money back in a relatively short period of time.
“It’s slightly more expensive,” Len Engel, Antelope Valley Transit Authority executive director, said. “But with annual savings of up to $50,000 on maintenance, that is paid back in three years and after that we are making money. By deploying these buses first, BYD can get an early lesson in how its batteries fare. And if they are successful, they can point to that and say the battery you are going to get in your electric vehicle has already done a half-million miles in buses.”
Other buyers include transit agencies in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Gardena in California, Denver and St. Albert in western Canada.
Typically, auto startups burn through cash, whereas BYD is already profitable.BYD’s sales rose to 61,722 autos, beating Tesla Motors Inc.’s sales of 50,580 plug-in vehicles and more than triple the 15,393 Volts sold by General Motors Co. Nissan Motor Co. says sales of its Leaf over the past five years total 211,000, which based on previous data suggests about 56,000 were sold last year.