Chinese automaker BYD chooses California for electric bus plant Windsor Star

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Chinese automaker BYD chooses for electric bus plant

May 01, 2013 9:09 PM EDT

Last Updated: May 02, — 6:44 AM EDT

BYD the Chinese that Windsor Mayor Francis has been courting for two has announced that its much-anticipated North American electric bus will be located in California.

On BYD (an acronym for Build Your confirmed plans to open the in Lancaster a city of 156,000 100 kilometres north of Los Angeles.

with the bus plant, BYD will a second facility in Lancaster for the of large-scale batteries.

We truly are history, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex told a news  conference in his

Our community looks forward to hand-in-hand with BYD as they and perfect their e-bus and storage technology right in Lancaster.

Once in full the plant will be the first auto manufacturing site in the States.

But Francis who has been trying to BYD to establish a plant in Windsor early 2011 said the still needs a manufacturing in Canada.

With regards to and BYD it s their position and our position nothing has changed, Francis Wednesday. From our perspective, our continue.

Francis, who met with executives in late March, he wasn t surprised by BYD s announcement in

He said it s his understanding that the plant will serve the West Coast and Latin He said that if the company to sell buses in Canada, it have to do some manufacturing in country.

Infrastructure Canada s Gas Tax the federal grant program municipalities can access to make transit purchases requires be at least 25 per cent Canadian-made. content rules will the business case that (BYD)  require a facility to Canada, as well as the northeast States, Francis said.

Honda / AFP / Getty Images)

The mayor has had extensive talks BYD, including at least trips to China for meetings company representatives.

In his 2012 of the City address. Francis the company and hinted at hundreds of that could come.

A ago, the City of Windsor a letter of intent to buy 10 electric from BYD.

Francis on Wednesday that the letter at the end of this week, and the city has yet to purchase orders.

He said the won t buy any buses from BYD until the s product has cleared all Canadian standards which he s been will happen by the end of May.

then, the city s relationship BYD remains in a holding pattern.

We re for them to get their approvals in before we can take the next Francis said.

Asked if he s that Wednesday s announcement preempt his vision for BYD in Windsor, replied: Why would it trouble me?

They haven t opened up a facility yet, have When you re in the business of fighting for city and trying to find single job you can you never cut your he said.

I never turn any opportunity, Francis said. In of losses, what losses are to talk about? We haven t any buses. We haven t turned any money for a plant . We continue to this as an economic development

On Tuesday, the Wall Street quoted BYD representatives as saying the company will be starting in California.

The company said the products off the line will be 10 buses for the City of Long

The deal with Long Transit was reportedly worth million, plus another $2 to build a charging facility for the

Michael Austin, a spokesman for told the Wall Street that the availability of U.S. support was one of the main reasons for the s decision.

Half of the cost of the buses for Beach will be covered by a federal grant, according to the Street Journal.

The U.S. s Buy American procurement standards that at least 60 per cent of bus be made in the U.S. similar to the content requirements of Infrastructure s Gas Tax Fund.

Stella Li, BYD senior told the Wall Street This is our ticket to the U.S.

A BYD electric bus. (Wikimedia

But auto industry consultant DesRosiers isn t optimistic about the viability of that market.

of all, electric automotive is 20 years maybe 30 years out in America until it becomes an and established technology. It s very, long term, he said.

to DesRosiers, there have been about 6,000 of pure electric vehicles Canada the past two years.

questioned the size of BYD s California describing it as having just a footprint.

He feels the possibility of BYD basing manufacturing in Windsor is near

Regarding Francis efforts to BYD to Windsor, DesRosiers said: s a lot better things to spend on.

Fellow auto analyst Faria said DesRosiers is in regards to the market for consumer vehicles. But Faria believes it s a matter when it comes to electric vehicles.

I think will get on board for more low-emission buses much than (20 to 30 years), Faria We already see a lot of truck fleets to either hybrid, natural or electric. Hertz is using BYD buses.

Faria said he t think the Lancaster announcement the chances of a BYD facility in Canada. that does not mean it would necessarily be in Windsor.

with files from the Free Press and the Wall Journal

Jerry Brown, the of California, visits BYD headquarters in China, on April 16, 2013. Yu / Associated Press)

BYD founder Wang Chuanfu (L) an electric bus with Governor of Jerry Brown (centre) and his Anne Brown (R). Yu / Associated Press)

BYD founder and Wang Chuanfu speaks at a with Jerry Brown in China, on April 16, 2013. Yu / Associated Press)

Governor of Jerry Brown listens at a with BYD on April 16, 2013. Yu / Associated Press)


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