L.A. Metro to purchase first all-electric buses

Posted on July 1, 2013

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors approved a contract with BYD Motors for the manufacture and delivery of up to 25 new all-electric buses as part of a $30 million clean air bus technology pilot project.

This is the first time in Metro’s history that all-electric, zero-emission transit buses will be purchased and placed into revenue service as the agency evaluates electric bus technologies and their applicability to meet L.A.’s rigorous transit needs.

Metro’s Advanced Transit Vehicle Consortium (ATVC), a partnership with L.A. City, L.A. County and South Coast Air Quality Management District, will initially purchase five low-floor, 40-foot all-electric buses. After an initial period of testing and evaluation, Metro may then choose to purchase up to 20 additional buses. Metro will also initiate a new solicitation to convert six existing Metro gasoline electric hybrid buses to super low emission bus standards.

The BYD contract contains a local jobs component that stipulates that the firm implement a local jobs program. BYD will comply by performing final assembly of bus components at its new manufacturing facilities in L.A. County. A Lancaster, Calif. plant that opened in May is the international firm’s first manufacturing facility in the U.S.

BYD’s electric buses use the company’s own iron phosphate rechargeable batteries which can reportedly travel 155 miles between charges with a full passenger load. The firm has manufactured more than 1,000 electric buses in China and was rated highest in the proposal process for technical compliance, project management and past performance.

Metro anticipates receiving the new buses early next year. Following an initial evaluation and testing period, Metro plans to initiate new procurements for additional “next generation” zero-emission and super low emission buses based on technology developments anticipated within the next one to three years.

View video of the announcement here.

RELATED: "Long Beach Transit to buy BYD all-electric buses."

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