Southern California Agency Votes to Spend Some $72 Million
Over Five Years on 85 Forty-, 45- and 60-Foot All-Battery Buses
To Be Built in BYD’s Plant in Antelope Valley Town of Lancaster
China-based BYD is trumpeting an historic deal whereby the Antelope Valley Transit Authority north of Los Angeles has moved to become America’s first all-electric transit fleet – approving a measure to purchase as many as 85 all-battery buses to be built at BYD’s new facility in Lancaster, Calif.
The AVTA board of directors voted at a special Thursday meeting to award BYD a contract to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five-year period. The agenda stated an amount not to exceed $72,410,000. The agency will take a mix of 40-foot battery buses, 45-foot over-the road coaches, and BYD’s and the industry’s first-ever all-battery 60-foot articulated transit bus, the manufacturer says.
AVTA expects to take delivery of 29 electric buses within the next 12 months, BYD says, and is working to secure additional grant funding from the California Air Resources Board to purchase an additional 17 vehicles.
AVTA says that it currently operates a fleet of 71 buses, with 43 tor local and 28 for commuter service.
“There are multiple benefits to electrifying our bus fleet, from creating jobs and eliminating harmful air pollutants, to reducing dependence on foreign oil,” AVTA board chairman Marvin Christ says in BYD’s announcement.
“These benefits will be seen at the local, regional, state, and national levels,” Christ said. “It’s really a win-win.”
160 Miles on a Single Charge; Wireless Charging Planned
“All 85 buses will have a range of more than 160 miles on a single battery charge,” BYD says, adding, “AVTA is also installing a wireless charging system to extend the fleet’s range to ensure the electric buses will be able to serve the agency’s longest rural routes.”
Also according to BYD, AVTA is anticipating a significant cost savings as a result of electrifying its fleet. “Over the lifetime of the new electric bus fleet,” BYD says, “the transit agency forecasts it could save more than $46 million compared to an all-diesel bus fleet, equivalent to $46,000 per bus per year in savings.
Building the Battery Buses as Locally as Can Be
“And, by reducing dependence on foreign oil imports,” BYD says, “AVTA will no longer be subject to oil price volatility for its bus fleet. This will help create greater stability for budget forecasting for the fleet manager – an important factor for a public agency.”
BYD took over the former Rexhall recreational vehicle plant in Lancaster three years ago for the purposes of building its all-battery buses in the U.S. (F&F, April 19, 2013).
BYD Claims 6,000 Battery Buses Worldwide
“With more than 6,000 electric buses deployed worldwide and 90 million miles of dependable service already accumulated, we know that our technology will help AVTA save money and improve local air quality,” BYD Motors president Stella Li said in her company’s announcement.
“Pure-electric powered transportation is no longer in the future,” Li said – “It’s here now. I hope other transit agencies in California and across the country take note and follow the example AVTA has set today.”
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Source: BYD with Fleets & Fuels follow-up