Chinese carmaker BYD unveiled Friday its expanded battery-electric bus manufacturing facility, North America's largest, in the U.S. city of Lancaster in southern California.
BYD, which stands for "Build Your Dreams," is also the world's largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries. The company's electric bus, supported by its solar panels, LED lighting and energy-efficient technologies, is able to run over 248 kilometers after a single charge, which is among the longest in the world.
This expansion is an addition of a new wing to the current BYD Coach and Bus space, bringing the total manufacturing facility to nearly 42,000 square meters (450,000 square ft), quadrupling the size of its facility from its initial 2013 footprint.
The growth of BYD Coach and Bus reflects a rapid transition to electric transportation and will allow BYD to build up to 1,500 battery-electric buses annually.
"As BYD continues to develop cutting-edge technology that helps transform the transportation industry here in the Antelope Valley and around the country, this investment will help create jobs in our community, keep Lancaster on the forefront of technological advancement, and put emission-free vehicles on our streets," U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy said Friday in the BYD's grand opening celebration.
Lancaster, a community of more than 156,000 inhabitants since 2013, boasts more than 350 days of sunshine per year, making it the ideal place to pioneer new solar energy technologies.
BYD's manufacturing facility is powered 100 percent by renewable energy, which is provided by the City of Lancaster's Energy Company, Lancaster Choice Energy.
Since BYD established its U.S. electric bus manufacturing capabilities in Los Angeles County, the company has created nearly 800 full-time jobs throughout the state. This manufacturing facility expansion will enable BYD to hire up to 1,200 full-time workers at top production-line capacity, according to BYD.
"I am very excited about the company's growth," Guillermo Garcia, who has been working for BYD's manufacturing facility in Lancaster since 2013, told Xinhua. "We started here with 7 employees, and I was one of them. Compared to 4 years ago, it's a big change."
"BYD has really saved my life... Now I have a roof for my family, I have food for my family," said Garcia, "and future is definitely full of hope."