BYD, China’s biggest electric vehicle maker and a partner to Toyota and Daimler, on Tuesday announced it had secured the lion’s share of the biggest single order to date for electric buses in the US.

Why it matters: The deal will help BYD further pry open the North American market, and underscores a global acceleration in transitioning public transit from gasoline power to clean energy.

  • China is leading the race to electrify transportation with the world’s largest fleet of more than 420,000 electric buses in the country versus 4,000 buses in the rest of the world, according to a BloombergNEF report.
  • Europe is vying to catch up. The European Union has required at least 25% of public buses purchased for cities within its member states to be emission-free by 2025, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently pledged to support the purchase of 4,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years, according to a BBC report.

Details: Shenzhen-based BYD will deliver a total of 130 all-electric buses to Los Angeles as part of the city’s initiative to convert its entire public bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by the start of the 2028 Summer Olympics, the company said in a statement sent to TechNode on Monday. Two of four BYD buses from an earlier deal had already been delivered.

  • The nine-meter (30-feet) electric bus model, known as K7M, can seat 22 passengers, has a maximum range of 240 kilometers (around 150 miles), and can be fully charged in around 3 hours.
  • The Warren Buffet-backed EV company first announced a deal of 130 K9M buses with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation in November, which the company said could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 81% compared to the city’s natural gas buses over their 12-year lifespan.
  • Apart from the deal with BYD, the city will also purchase 25 e-buses from local manufacturer Proterra. Officials said that all the 155 vehicles will be delivered over the next two years starting in March.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Thursday that the move will help the city to achieve a more sustainable future with “cleaner air and lower emissions.” Officials said the city’s electric bus fleet will be one of largest in California, reported Electrive.
  • A BYD spokeswoman did not reveal the delivery timeline or the deal’s value when contacted by TechNode on Tuesday.

Context: Riding the wave of a global push for bus fleet electrification, BYD has so far delivered more than 55,000 e-buses in 50 countries and regions.

  • The Chinese EV giant has delivered upwards of 1,200 e-buses to 60 cities across Europe for a 20% market share, behind Polish bus manufacturer Solaris which runs 3,500 buses in the region.
  • The company in December announced that it had secured what it claimed was the largest ever single order for e-buses in Europe to supply 259 units to public transport provider Keolis in the Netherlands starting this summer.

Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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