Downtown-based BYD Motors has nabbed a $66 million contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build 60 new electric buses for the agency’s bus fleet. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/LABJ

Downtown-based BYD Motors has nabbed a $66 million contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build 60 new electric buses for the agency’s bus fleet. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/LABJ

Downtown-based BYD Motors has nabbed a $66 million contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build 60 new electric buses for the agency’s bus fleet.

Metro’s board unanimously approved the proposal submitted by BYD on Thursday, which comes after BYD last week signed a community benefits agreement pledging local hiring.

Related Link: BYD’s Hiring Pledge Could Charge Up MTA Bus Deal

The board approved a total of $138 million, its largest funding yet, to buy 95 electric buses.

Metro’s fleet of 2,300 vehicles doesn’t have any electric buses. The last one was pulled off the streets in 2015 after less-than-favorable functionality.

The $138 million approvals include $72 million for 35 60-foot-long electric buses from Crookston, Minn.-based New Flyer of America Inc.

BYD is the U.S. subsidiary of Chinese electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd. The company opened its U.S. headquarters in downtown L.A. in 2011 and set up a manufacturing facility in Lancaster in 2013. That facility has grown from 90,000 square feet to 400,000 square feet and together with its downtown office employs 700 people.

In the L.A. region, BYD has provided 10 buses to Long Beach Transit and four each to Palm Springs and Anaheim.

Manufacturing and trade reporter Shwanika Narayan can be reached at snarayan@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @shwanika.