BYD Receives Biggest Electric Bus Order in U.S. History

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Chinese new energy technology company BYD continues to dominate the market for electric buses. Its lead over other companies is ever widening, as it has landed a massive order for electric buses for Los Angeles.

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Los Angeles Metro, one of the largest transportation systems in the United States, voted to award a contract for 60 40-foot all-electric buses to local manufacturer BYD. This is among the largest single contracts for electric buses in US history, and will directly lead to 59 new manufacturing jobs at the BYD factory in Lancaster, California.

The 40-foot BYD bus has a range of over 160 miles,

LA Metro is expected to use the buses to electrify the Silver Line bus service, which runs throughout the county, from El Monte into Downtown Los Angeles and then south to San Pedro. This route covers a number of communities that have seen significant advocacy around environmental justice, with a severe need for this kind of investment in improved air quality.

“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. We’re thrilled to get to work producing these buses for LA Metro.”

This award comes weeks after BYD signed a Community Benefits Agreement with the Jobs to Move America Coalition, which includes community, faith, labor, and environmental organizations working to advance good job and equity outcomes through transit investments, and as BYD moves forward on union negotiations with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers Local 105. The factory in Lancaster currently employs over 700 Californians making buses and trucks.

“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,” added Erika Thi Patterson, National Policy Director at Jobs to Move America. “That means environmental justice and economic justice for people from the ports to the Antelope Valley.”

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 is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.

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

© 2017 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.