Taking Over Rexhall RV Facility, Launch on May 1
China’s BYD Motors is planning U.S. assembly of its all-battery transit buses at a former Rexhall Industries recreational vehicle factory in Lancaster, Calif. in northern Los Angeles County. A launch event is slated for May 1.
“We needed to find a facility where we could grandfather the permits,” says BYD North America VP Micheal Austin. Rexhall produced some 1,500 RVs a year at Lancaster, Austin told F&F from Shenzhen this week. BYD will commence manufacturing at Lancaster this fall. Its target is 1,000 fully battery electric buses per year, with Buy America status paving the way for federal transit funding.
Rexhall’s Bill Rex has been named BYD’s general manager at Lancaster.
A separate Lancaster plant will be used for battery products.
Buses for Long Beach Transit
Some 800 of BYD electric buses were recently delivered to three operators in Shenzhen, Austin says, and BYD is working an order for ten vehicles from Long Beach Transit – the LBT board approved the $12.1 million buy late last month, applying money from a federal TIGGER (Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) grant.
A North American model bus is en route to Pennsylvania for Federal Transit Administration Altoona testing, BYD fleets sales VP Brendan Riley said Friday.
BYD hopes to deliver the buses to LBT early next year.
BYD has its own iron phosphate batteries in a thermally stable pack with proprietary battery management system, Riley says. “We have 155 miles-plus range on a typical charge in a transit role with very high hotel loads,” he told F&F. BYD makes its own motors and controls too.
LBT chose BYD over competing bids from Complete Coach Works, DesignLine, Ebus and Proterra. BYD is offering its battery buses to LA Metro as one of about half a dozen RFPs currently open, Riley says.
BYD stands for Build Your Dreams.
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Source: City of Lancaster with Fleets & Fuels follow-up