The Antelope Valley Transit Authority has ordered up to 85 electric buses to be manufactured in Lancaster by Chinese company BYD Motors Inc.
The transit authority board voted Thursday to award the contract for the buses to be delivered over a five-year period. The buses will come in three models: a 40-foot low-floor transit bus, a 60-foot low-floor articulated bus and a 45-foot commuter coach.
BYD Motors is the Los Angeles-based U.S subsidiary of Chinese electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd.
Authority Chairman Marvin Christ said the agency is the first in the nation to go with all electric buses. The benefits include reducing dependence on oil and eliminating air pollutants, he said.
“These benefits will be seen at the local, regional, state and national levels. It’s really a win-win,” Christ said in a prepared statement.
The authority is expected to take delivery of 29 electric buses within the next 12 months. It is working on grant funding from the California Air Resources Board to purchase another 17 buses.
BYD opened its Lancaster plant in spring 2013 and began delivering buses the following year, with the Antelope Valley Transit Authority as the first customer. The company is contracted to produce up to 25 buses for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, and has a contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation to supply electric buses.
“Pure-electric powered transportation is no longer in the future – it’s here now,” said BYD Motors President Stella Li in a prepared statement. “I hope other transit agencies in California and across the country take note and follow the example AVTA has set today.”