The Antelope Valley Transit Authority will take delivery in the next few weeks of the first two electric buses made by Chinese manufacturer BYD Motors Inc. at its assembly plant in Lancaster.
BYD has its North American headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday joined representatives from BYD, Lancaster, and Los Angeles County to mark the unveiling of the 60-seat buses.
Brown told the crowd of more than 150 people, including the 60 BYD employees in Lancaster, that while the plant so far has turned out a small number of buses it bodes well for the future.
“This holds the promise of something very big and very important,” Brown said.
BYD Motors, a division of BYD Co. Ltd., based in Shenzhen, opened the bus assembly plant and a battery pack assembly facility in a separate building in Lancaster a year ago. All parts used to make the buses come from U.S. suppliers except for the steel chassis shipped from China.
In addition to Antelope Valley Transit, the company has a contract to build up to 25 electric buses for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro. The company also has buses operating on the Stanford University campus although those vehicles were made in China.
Antelope Valley Transit financed the purchase with a $1.9 million grant from Proposition A funds. The ballot initiative, passed by Los Angeles County voters in 1990, provides a half-cent sales tax with the proceeds dedicated to transportation projects.