The Long Beach Transit (LBT) Board of Directors announced Monday that they have authorized LBT President and CEO Kenneth McDonald to enter into a contract with BYD Motors, Inc., the Los Angeles-based US subsidiary of a Chinese battery and electric vehicle company, for the purchase of 10 battery electric, zero-emission buses and their supporting charging systems.
The LBT Board approved up to $11,069,319, which will include an allotment for training and the equipment required in support of the purchase.
“The Long Beach Transit Board made a historic decision today that will not only benefit our customers, but will also be a win for our community," said McDonald in a statement. "Our new battery electric buses will be zero-emission. This is the cleanest bus we have offered to date, and it’s the leading edge of technology in the industry. We are happy to be working with BYD Motors to bring our most eco-friendly transit vehicle option to Long Beach.”
LBT announced that these first 10 buses will be operated on the Passport route in downtown Long Beach starting in the fall of 2016 and that the transit agency will consider a future expansion with an option to purchase 14 more of the battery electric buses at a later date with Board approval.
According to the release, the LBT Staff recommendation was the end of a competitive bidding process that included the issuing of a detailed Request for Proposals (RFP) on September 23, 2014. The release read, “BYD Motors’ response to the RFP deemed most responsive and responsible and met the requirements outlined in the request.”
BYD Motors offered LBT a 12-year warranty on major components of the propulsion system, including the battery. (Twelve years is considered to be the lifespan of a public transit bus.) The Federal Transit Administration expects a transit agency to maintain a bus for at least this time period.
Long Beach Transit serves over 28.6 million boarding customers in Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill—as well as portions of Artesia, Bellflower, Carson, Cerritos, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, Los Alamitos, Norwalk, Paramount and Seal Beach.