CA: Governor Gives AVTA the Key to a BYD Electric Bus

California Gov. Jerry Brown gave the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) a symbolic key to their new BYD electric bus April 28 during an historic celebration, displaying the first BYD bus to be assembled at the local manufacturing facility.

More than two hundred dignitaries attended the event to celebrate the fledgling partnership with BYD Motors, a Chinese-based
company that located a manufacturing facility in Lancaster, Calif., in May of 2013.

“We are solidifying a very powerful partnership right on the edge of the Pacific,” Brown said. “I hope to come back in a few years to hear that hundreds if not thousands of BYD buses are coming off the assembly line.”

AVTA has purchased two BYD electric buses as part of a demonstration project funded by a $1.9 million grant arranged by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. The first electric bus was debuted featuring AVTA’s artwork and new slogan, "Power On."

The all-electric, 40-foot transit bus will be placed into revenue service in late summer, after final modifications are made, inspections and acceptance of the buses, and drivers and mechanics are fully trained.

“It’s exciting to be part of something that has the potential to be much larger than just two electric buses being delivered to a public transit agency,” stated AVTA executive director Julie Austin. “BYD’s battery technology is a cut above the rest and we’re excited to be the first U.S. transit agency to put these buses into service. We would consider adding more if the demonstration project proves successful.”

A strong proponent of green technology, AVTA is in the process of applying for discretionary grant funding to help pay for additional electric buses.

“The Antelope Valley is a leader in demonstrating new technology,” stated AVTA Chair Norm Hickling. “It’s only fitting AVTA should lead the way with deploying state-of-the-art electric bus technology. Not only are we helping the environment be we are also an economic catalyst in the region.”

Since BYD opened its Los Angeles headquarters in October 2011, 60 Americans have been hired to support the Lancaster factory. BYD expects to create a total of 100 jobs by the end of the year and 200 jobs by the end of next year.

“BYD has a long and solid commitment to provide zero emission, superior technology transportation vehicles in the United States,” said BYD Motors CEO Stella Li. “We are starting out in Lancaster, California with the goal of providing clean energy buses throughout the United States, creating even more jobs for American workers.”