Briefing: Albuquerque cancels deal with BYD over bus quality issues

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Mayor pulls the plug on electric bus deal – Albuquerque Journal

What happened: Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Tim Keller has announced the city’s plans to reject and return all 15 of the electric buses manufactured by the US subsidiary of Shenzhen-based automaker BYD, also known as Build Your Dreams.

Although the city cited a number of quality and safety concerns ranging from electrical issues to brake failure, the chief issue seemed to be with the vehicles’ batteries. The contract with BYD calls for buses to operate for 275 miles, yet according to city officials, the buses are unable to go more than 177 miles before they need recharging. Mayor Keller also referenced problems with the batteries overheating and having inadequate fire protection.

Why it’s important: This isn’t the first time that BYD’s buses have run into quality issues. An investigation by The Los Angeles Times in May of this year revealed similar problems with the automaker’s buses, causing headaches for the mass transit system of the second-largest American city. The Times investigation also revealed evidence of official corruption and mistreatment of employees at BYD’s Southern California plant. In August of this year, reports out of Cape Town claimed that the city’s newly-purchased buses would stall when going uphill.