BYD – the global giant manufacturer of clean, electric vehicles – recently celebrated a new milestone as the company opened the next phase of its expansion program.
When BYD and Lancaster officials first inked a deal in 2013, the goal was to bring 250 jobs to the City. Today, BYD employs more than 700 people locally with plans to increase the headcount to more than 1,500 at full buildout.
“We started as a consumer electronics firm, building batteries for cell phones, tablets, and laptops,” said BYD’sVice President of Sales Andy Swanton. “Today, nearly half of our business comes from the transportation sector, building electric cars, trucks, and buses.”
“When we opened this facility in 2013, we had approximately 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space. With our newest expansion, we’re growing to more than 400,000 square feet and will expand our capacity from delivering 300 buses per year to upwards of 1,500 vehicles,” added Swanton.
The reason behind this dramatic expansion has been the remarkable success the company has seen in the marketplace for its full line of clean and green buses. BYD recently executed a contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit District (Metro) for 60 electric buses. The company also delivered the first of 13, articulated 60-foot buses to Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) with plans to expand its fleet to 85, giving AVTA the distinction of having the first all-electric transit fleet in the nation.
However, buses are just the beginning. BYD has plans to build a full suite of electric vehicles including taxis, delivery and construction trucks, as well as municipal vehicles such as trash haulers and street sweepers. Before the decade is out, BYD also plans to introduce consumer vehicles to the North American market. In addition, the company is working on off-road transports including port and airport vehicles, forklifts, and mining equipment.
As production expands, the benefit to the City will grow. Kosmont Companies research estimates the total economic benefit to the region will top $680 million annually at full buildout.
Source: City of Lancaster, Outlook, December 2017 issue