BYD, China's premier global high-tech green company, opened its North American headquarters in Los Angeles on Monday with the first BYD made eBus-12 shuttle bus running at Los Angeles International Airport by Hertz, the world's largest general use airport car rental brand.
"Los Angeles is where the world creates and innovates," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the opening ceremony.
"By reaching out to the world and harnessing LA's unique resources, we have attracted China's leading green company to our city. BYD's new North American headquarters in downtown Los Angeles is the latest sign that we are a growing hub of clean- technology jobs. We see BYD's Los Angeles opening as a catalyst that will usher in good jobs, global investment and a more sustainable future," said Villaraigosa.
BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said BYD "is thrilled to be making this investment in Los Angeles, a global city working towards a green, sustainable future."
He said BYD's new North American headquarters will bring up to 150 green-collar engineering and management jobs featuring on research and development to Los Angeles, in addition to serving as the focal point for privately owned BYD dealerships across the continent.
As a multi-national manufacturer of electric and hybrid or dual- mode vehicles, solar power systems, environmentally friendly rechargeable batteries and battery energy storage, BYD's North American headquarters will focus on developing eBus shuttles in Los Angeles and other big cities, according to Chuanfu Wang.
Wang said the electric eBus-12 manufactured by BYD is able to run 155 miles on a single charge, and its energy consumption is less than 100 kwh per 60 miles. Since it is zero emission, it will greatly improve the air quality in Los Angeles if more traditional buses are replaced by eBuses.
Understanding that there might be problems in pushing for the replacement of traditional buses with electric ones in Los Angeles, but he is confident that with the support of the mayor, BYD can achieve its goal.
Wang did not say how many electric buses BYD plans to sell in the U.S. annually, but he admitted that he would expand its sales from Los Angeles to other big cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
BYD is 50 percent U.S.-owned and has the backing of investor Warren Buffett via his MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, the utility division of Berkshire Hathaway. Based in Shenzhen, China, BYD employs more than 200,000 worldwide.
A delegation led by Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin came to Los Angeles to celebrate China's investment in and partnership with Los Angeles.
To demonstrate its initial results of cooperation, Hertz Car Rental transported Mayor Xu Qin and his delegation to the grand opening event at the BYD North America Headquarters at 1800 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles with its eBus-12 shuttle.
"The BYD all electric bus not only knocks down emissions dramatically, but it also results in an estimated savings of up to 500,000 dollars over the lifetime of each vehicle," said Richard Broome, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs and Communications for the Hertz Corporation.
"We are committed to sustainability, and this partnership with BYD creates very exciting opportunities for us in Los Angeles and throughout the nation," he added.
BYD will also sell e6 pure electric vehicles to consumers and commercial fleets, rapid charging stations, LED lighting systems, commercial and residential solar energy systems, home and commercial energy storage systems and other BYD green product offerings.
BYD's green energy technologies will be on display at the new headquarters, where its vehicles, solar panels, energy storage systems and advanced LED lighting products will be on display.
The headquarters will house BYD's R&D arm which will develop versions of their popular vehicles in China for the U.S. consumer market.
The grand opening in Los Angeles came at the time when BYD began to see a drop of revenue amid increase in operating costs. The North American headquarters seemed to be aimed at bringing in new revenue by winning the North American market.