BYD eyes 30% share of market in North America

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-10-11 10:22

BYD eyes 30% share of market in North America

BYD's electric coach and bus production line at the recently expanded manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California. The expansion made the facility the largest of its kind in North America. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

BYD Co Ltd is looking to take a 30 percent share of the electric-bus market in North America after the recent major expansion of its manufacturing facility in Los Angeles County.

The addition of a new wing to the existing facility, which was set up in 2013 in Lancaster, California, quadruples the floor space to 450,000 square feet. The capacity after the expansion is for production of 1,500 electric buses a year.

The new capacity means 30 percent of the total electric-bus market of North America, but the Chinese automaker and rechargeable-batteries maker is looking at several years to reach that goal because the capacity is supported by orders, said Andy Swanton, vice-president at BYD Motors, the US arm of BYD, in a phone interview with China Daily on Tuesday.

The facility, which the company said is the largest of its kind in North America, also supports R&D and assembly for BYD's electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks among other product lines.

"We have a local engineering team based in Lancaster responsible for the concept of our vehicles, and we also work with our overseas engineering groups who are really specialists on individual components," Swanton said.

"So we leverage the expertise from global engineers to design new vehicles. To date, we've developed seven individual products for North America, and that's all been led by the team in Lancaster," he said.

He said the company also builds prototypes at the facility and does all of the testing, validation and certifications necessary to sell products in North America.

BYD has delivered 137 electric buses in the US and Canada since 2013, including more than 75 buses delivered in 2017. The Lancaster facility is currently producing an additional 300 buses based on current orders.

The annual capacity before the expansion is 150 buses with a single shift, and the company will use the additional space for electric-truck production in the short term until the company fills bus orders or until an independent truck facility is built, Swanton said.

The trucks incorporate the same core components that are used in BYD buses and vehicles. By the end of 2017, the company expects to deliver 70 electric trucks to 15 customers in North America, with orders for more than 140 trucks, according to Swanton.

BYD has the support of elected officials from both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to the company's press release. The officials who attended the unveiling ceremony on Oct 6 in Lancaster included House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, as well as Congress members Steve Knight and Nanette Diaz Barragan.

The officials applauded the investment by BYD, which currently employs nearly 800 people in California. The expansion means 400 more local jobs, according to BYD.

"The electric-vehicle market in North America is here to stay, and it's growing fast. That's the reason for continued investment here in Lancaster," a BYD spokesperson told China Daily in an email.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349