BYD Scores Massive Bus Order from Washington State

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In what it is touting as “America’s Largest Electric Bus Order,” BYD Co. Ltd., the Chinese battery and vehicle-maker that is 10% owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has scored a massive order from the state of Washington.

BYD has won a contract from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for up to 800 heavy duty buses from all different propulsion types that includes 12 different categories for all-electric buses.

The company won contracts in 10 of the 12 available vehicle categories of WSDOT’s RFP, and says it has the ability to deliver any of their buses within six months.

The contract includes buses from 30 – 60 feet in length for both highway and transit applications, as well as long-range and shorter range on-route charging configurations.

BYD is the only company world-wide that manufactures 7 different all-electric buses capable of long range as well as in-route charging configurations.

The company notes that its buses can drive for more than 155 miles even in heavy city traffic on a single charge, and BYD will also supply wireless on route charging as an option approved by WSDOT.

The buses use BYD’s Iron-Phosphate battery which has a 12-year-battery warranty, and use the company’s proprietary in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking system.

Single RFP Process Speeds Procurement

The single WSDOT RFP speeds procurement, and the buses will serve public transportation systems in the states of Washington and Oregon without their having to go through a separate RFP.

Any transit agency or public institution in the states of Washington and Oregon is now able to procure electric buses using the RFP.

“Our staff has spent the past few years researching every electric bus on the market,” said WSDOT’s David Chenaur, Capital Programs Manager, “and after rigorous evaluations of each manufacturer and their products we believe we have given our transit authorities the very best electric buses in each vehicle category to build their fleet with.”

BYD’s subsidiary BYD Motors will build the buses at its plant in Lancaster, California.

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential and purchased 225 million shares, and today owns roughly 9.1% of the company.

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

© 2015 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.