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BYD cooperates with Los Angeles city to build green dream

The name BYD is an abbreviation of "Build Your Dreams." And the Chinese automaker has teamed up with the second largest city of the United States in their shared pursuit of building green dream.

"BYD has its American headquarters here in Los Angeles, we're happy that we are doing this together," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to dozens of reporters and city workers Thursday after quietly arriving at the Department of Transportation (LADOT) in a 30-foot battery-electric BYD K7M.

At the low key ceremony, Garcetti announced that Los Angeles placed the largest single order for electric buses in the country's history, adding 155 zero-emission buses to LADOT's fleet, among which 134 will come from BYD, a Chinese manufacturer of automobiles, battery-powered bicycles, buses, forklifts, solar panels, rechargeable batteries and trucks.

Los Angeles has a dream to upgraded entire bus fleet to emissions-free before the opening ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to the "L.A.'s Green New Deal: Leading By Example," an executive directive signed by Garcetti recently.

"The clean transportation revolution is not a distant dream - it's happening on L.A.'s streets right now," said Garcetti, "Seeing these zero-emission buses rolling down our roads in the years ahead will bring us one step closer to realizing our vision of cleaner air, lower emissions, healthier communities, and a more sustainable future for all Angelenos."

"If we do not get off fossil fuels, we are killing our kids and their planet. Fortunately, Los Angeles has the ability to make a big impact in combating the climate crisis," Council member Mike Bonin echoed.

Thursday's record-breaking order is "a major milestone for BYD as it continues its green dream to bring innovation and cutting-edge zero-emission technologies to forward-thinking communities and private enterprises," BYD said in a statement sent to Xinhua.

The 30-foot K7M has 22 seats, a range of up to 150 miles, and can be charged in 2.5 to 3 hours. The K7M is one of BYD's top products. It has no air emissions and runs quietly, improving quality of life wherever it operates. With lower fuel and maintenance costs, the K7M has lower total cost of ownership than diesel or compressed natural gas buses (CNG).

It is estimated the 134 buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,225 metric tons per year and by 98,700 metric tons over the buses' 12-year life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 81 percent compared to LADOT's CNG.

LADOT's purchase would be a signal to the market "zero-emission buses are here to stay and that their use will continue to spread," the company predicted, noting that Los Angeles has set a bold goal of converting every city vehicle to zero-emission technology by 2050.

"We applauded LADOT for its bold leadership, ambition, and desire to improve the air quality for the City of Los Angeles," said BYD North America President Stella Li. "BYD buses will be an important component of the city's efforts to meet its sustainability goals. We are proud to partner with an agency that shares our green dream."

Garcetti also praised BYD for building the fleet of "all-American buses in Los Angeles County" with an "All-American" workforce.

The buses, which will be built at BYD's Coach & Bus factory in Lancaster, a city located 110 kilometers north of Los Angeles downtown, not only meet but also exceed Federal Transit Administration "Buy America" requirements, incorporating more than 70 percent U.S. content.

BYD is the only battery-electric bus manufacturer that has both a unionized workforce and a Community Benefits Agreement, which sets goals for hiring veterans, single parents, second chance citizens, and others facing hurdles in obtaining manufacturing employment.

"This is very significant," Li said. "This is not a small order of 20 buses, this not a demo anymore. This is the real thing. It is moving on L.A. streets every day. They have been here four years already and the city can see these buses are reliable."

She also thanked Garcetti for his acknowledgement of the BYD workforce.

"We feel we represent the future and and are here for the long term," Li said. "BYD offers good paying jobs to veterans, single parents and men and women who have been in jail, and we see they are thriving. This is an example for BYD doing its work as a global leader."

LADOT has been working with BYD since 2014 when it conducted a 90-day trial of a battery-electric bus. In January 2017, city officials introduced the first of four K9S battery-electric buses acquired by the LADOT with a grant from the California Energy Commission.

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds believed that BYD can help Los Angeles achieve its goals in a timely fashion, saving the city money on fuel costs and improving air quality and health for families across the region the LADOT serves.

"Los Angeles is making a bold investment in a clean transportation future," Reynolds concluded.

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