Stella Li (left), president of BYD Motors, David Griffith (center), chairman of the Long Beach-Qingdao Association, and Kenneth McDonald, president and CEO of Long Beach Transit, at the LBQA GreenTech Awards Luncheon. (Provided to China Daily)
BYD Motors, the U.S. arm of the Chinese automaker and rechargeable batteries firm BYD Co Ltd, has received a clean-tech award for its contribution to improving the environment in Long Beach, California.
Long Beach Transit (LBT), a municipal transit company, is the award co-honoree for the city's zero-emission electric bus program. Both companies received the Green Partners CleanTech Award on Oct 21 from the Long Beach-Qingdao Sister City Association (LBQA).
The employment of electric buses by LBT, which serves more than 28.6 million boarding customers, is expected to reduce thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide every day.
"BYD is very proud to accept this award — but we're even more proud to have our buses on the streets of Long Beach," said Stella Li, president of BYD Motors.
"Bringing jobs to Southern California while making the air cleaner is one of the ultimate win-win situations, and I thank LBQA for this new tradition of honoring partnerships that protect the environment and grow the economy," she added.
LBQA's CleanTech Award was established this year to recognize the growing number of partnerships between the U.S. and Chinese companies that are developing new environmental solutions to benefit the people of both countries.
In April 2015, LBT agreed to purchase 60 electric buses from the Los Angeles-based BYD Motors. It was the largest ever electric bus purchase in the U.S., according to BYD.
Under the agreement, BYD will bring electric buses to the city of Long Beach and the 12 other cities the transit agency serves. The program includes 10 battery electric buses (and the option to buy 14 more).
The first batch of 10 buses and a wireless charging system for opportunity charging en route have been delivered.
LBT officials expect to have the 10 battery electric buses in service by the end of next month and intend to have the Passport Route — a loop running from Downtown Long Beach to waterfront attractions such as the Aquarium of the Pacific and The Queen Mary — 100 percent battery operated.
"Long Beach Transit is proud to provide innovative public transportation with our new battery electric bus program," said Kenneth McDonald, president and CEO of Long Beach Transit. "The buses will benefit our customers and all the communities we serve by reducing LBT's daily carbon emissions by thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide, and by lessening noise pollution."
Besides the LBT's order, BYD Motors has some 250 battery electric buses on order for U.S. transit providers. All the vehicles will be assembled at its facility in Lancaster, California.
In September, the company announced that it would expand the Lancaster plant, tripling the size, employment and production capability over the next three years.
The coach and bus vehicle plant covers 8,000 square meters and is able to deliver 300 zero-emission vehicles every year, while employing more than 300 people for production and customer service.
BYD, short for "Build Your Dreams", is the world's largest producer of battery-electric buses, with more than 10,000 buses in operation around the world that have so far accumulated more than 120 million miles of revenue service.