BYD electric bus

Like the stop-an-go nature of the municipal routes its electric buses will be serving, the progression of China-based BYD and its goal to get cities to adopt its vehicles has not been a smooth one. This time, the news is about the city of Long Beach, CA. And it's not all good.

The issue is whether BYD complied with federal-funding rules.

The federal government has notified the city that BYD was eligible for bidding when it won a $12.1 million contract last March to supply the Los Angeles-adjacent city with 10 electric buses. The issue is whether BYD complied with federal-funding rules relating to passing on some of the resulting business to minority-owned entities, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. And since the feds were slated to foot the bill for $9.6 million of that $12.1 million, Long Beach may be forced to either cancel the contract or foot the entire bill for the contract itself.

"The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) informed Long Beach Transit that BYD is out of compliance with certain Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirements," Long Beach Transit Marketing Manager Kevin Lee wrote to AutoblogGreen. "As required, Long Beach Transit has given BYD a period in which they may attempt to cure. During that period, LBT will have no further comment regarding this issue."

"Constructive discussions with Long Beach Transit continue," BYD spokesman Micheal Austin wrote to AutoblogGreen. "We have no further comment at this time."

On the more positive side, the company said last week that the fines it was assessed by the Los Angeles Labor Commissioner for alleged labor violations were cut to $37,803 from $99,245. The charges stemmed from what BYD says is a "false" (yep, there's that word again) charge that it paid temporary workers from China at its Lancaster, CA, facility less than the state's minimum wage.

Earlier this month, BYD said it received an order from the China city of Dalian for 1,200 electric buses. And last summer, the city of Los Angeles agreed to purchase as many as 25 buses (no federal funds are involved), but that was followed up by news last September that some of the BYD buses being tested were developing frame cracks. You can check out BYD's press release on the fine reduction below.
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BYD Labor Issues Resolved by California Labor Commission, Minimum Wage Dispute Dropped, Technical Fines Reduced by Two-Thirds

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BYD is pleased that the decision by the Labor Commissioner Hearing Officer resulted in a reduction by almost two thirds - from $99,245 to $37,803 - in the fines assessed against BYD for good faith technical errors (such as allowing several workers one 20 minute break so they could have breakfast together rather than two 10 minute breaks).

BYD is especially happy that the false charge, unfortunately widely published in local and national media, of payments to five temporary Chinese professionals below California's minimum wage was dropped by the Commissioner before the hearing.

BYD is an American start-up company that has built two factories; an electric bus factory and an energy module factory in Lancaster, California, with an administrative office in Los Angeles and already created more than 50 jobs. We expect to double the new jobs to 100 by the end of this year, and doubling again to 200 jobs by 2015. We are proud of our zero-emission electric buses and longer lasting batteries than any other electric or hybrid bus manufacturer. We look forward to continued new jobs for California in years to come. Please visit www.byd.com/na/media/record.html.

About BYD

BYD is a publicly-traded company with no Chinese government ownership. In fact, U.S. investors own over 60% of the public stock, with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owning 9.9% of that amount. Mr. Buffett and his colleagues recognize BYD's breakthrough battery and EV technologies: an electrified, 24-hour, and long-range battery that provides emission-free, silent, and economic public and private transportation.

As the world's largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, BYD's mission is to create safer and more environmentally-friendly battery technologies, and this has produced the BYD Iron Phosphate Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable, and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the foundation of BYD's clean energy platforms.