BYD has produced its 300th bus at its Lancaster, Calif. manufacturing plant. BYD is celebrating the milestone with its highly valued customer and neighbor Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA). AVTA is closing in on a landmark of its own: 1 million miles of zero-emission bus operations. AVTA expects to make that breakthrough in early May.
The 300th bus is a 35-foot BYD K9S model transit bus. The vehicle is one of three built for Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Transit System (CATS). The agency will field test the use of electric buses in Baton Rouge and study how these battery electric buses could be used on routes in Louisiana’s capital.
AVTA was one of BYD’s first customers. In 2016, the AVTA board set a goal of becoming the nation’s first all-electric fleet and vowed to convert all of its aging diesel buses. AVTA will achieve that conversion milestone later this year.
When BYD opened its Lancaster manufacturing plant in 2013, it had a handful of employees working on 10 buses in a 106,000-square-foot building that once housed a motorhome manufacturing facility.
In just six years, BYD has grown to become the largest battery electric bus manufacturer in North America, with more than 750 employees. Since acquiring the facility, BYD has increased its manufacturing plant to over a half million square feet, with the capacity to produce as many as 1,500 buses a year.
In all, BYD has invested more than $250 million in North America, and in 2018 alone, has spent $70 million on components and services from American vendors, many from Southern California.
Since delivery of its first US battery-electric bus in 2014, BYD has provided buses to customers in 13 states and four Canadian provinces.
From one bus model under production in 2013, BYD’s product line has expanded to include 12 models, the most of any e-bus manufacturer in the market. The transit bus line ranges from 30-foot K7 to the 60-foot K11, and the coach line ranges from 23-foot C6 to the double-deck, 45-foot C10MS.
At any given time, more than 80 buses on the factory floor are in various stages of assembly.