BYD Lands Mega Order from Los Angeles Department of Transportation

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New energy company BYD (Build Your Dreams) has announced that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has ordered 130 of its battery-electric K7M buses.

The order is the largest single purchase of battery-electric buses to date in the United States.

The order is a major milestone for BYD as it continues its green dream to bring innovation and cutting-edge zero-emission technologies to forward-thinking communities and private enterprises. LADOT purchase is a signal to the market that zero-emission buses are here to stay and that their use will continue to spread.

The project fits perfectly with the City of Los Angeles’ “Green New Deal,” a set of sustainability goals that includes converting the entire LADOT fleet to zero-emission buses by 2030. The City of Los Angeles has set a bold goal of converting every city vehicle to zero-emission technology by 2050.

It is estimated the 130 buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,225 metric tons per year and by 98,700 metric tons over the buses’ 12-year life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 81% compared to LADOT’s compressed natural gas buses.

“We applauded LADOT for its bold leadership, ambition, and desire to improve the air quality for the City of Los Angeles,” said BYD North America President Stella Li. “BYD buses will be an important component of the city’s efforts to meet its sustainability goals. We are proud to partner with an agency that shares our green dream.”

The buses will be built at BYD’s Coach & Bus factory in Lancaster, California. BYD’s zero-emission buses not only meet but also exceed Federal Transit Administration “Buy America” requirements, incorporating more than 70% U.S. content.

BYD is the only battery-electric bus manufacturer that has both a unionized workforce and a Community Benefits Agreement, which sets goals for hiring veterans, single parents, second chance citizens, and others facing hurdles in obtaining manufacturing employment.

The 30-foot K7M has 22 seats, a range of up to 150 miles, and can be charged in 2.5 to 3 hours. The K7M is one of BYD’s top products. It has no air emissions and runs quietly, improving quality of life wherever it operates. With lower fuel and maintenance costs, the K7M has lower total cost of ownership than diesel or CNG.

BYD notes that it offers a 12-year warranty on its batteries, the longest in the industry.

LADOT has been working with BYD since 2014 when it conducted a 90-day trial of a battery-electric bus. In January 2017, city officials introduced the first of four K9S battery-electric buses acquired by the LADOT with a grant from the California Energy Commission.

LADOT is one of more than a dozen customers who have shown their confidence in BYD’s product performance and service to make additional orders. Earlier this year, Anaheim Resort Transportation added to its initial purchase by ordering 40 more buses from BYD. With this purchase, BYD has now sold more than 460 electric buses to customers in Southern California including airports, universities, private operators and transit agencies.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value almost ten-fold, and is now worth roughly $1.96 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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