BYD has opened its first Canadian electric bus assembly plant. The approximately 14,000 square metre plant in Newmarket near Toronto will initially assemble buses for the Toronto Transit Commission, which has ordered ten electric buses with an option for a further 30.
The Chinese group wants to start manufacturing its electric buses for North America in Canada as soon as the order from Toronto has been processed. In addition to Toronto, BYD electric buses are either on order or already in operation in the Canadian cities of Victoria, Longeuil, St. Albert and Grand Prairie.
With the new facility in Ontario, BYD President Stella Li said that they are “…dedicated to partnering with municipalities across Canada.” Ted Dowling, Vice President, BYD Canada said that “BYD is well-positioned to replicate in Canada the kind of rapid growth we’ve seen in places like Lancaster, California — a plant which started with about 100 workers in 2013 and now employs more than 750. Together with our partners in York Region and the town of Newmarket, we’re going to put Canada on the map as a North American leader in Electric Bus assembly,” said Dowling.
The plan for a BYD plant in Canada is not a new one. In November last year, BYD announced they were putting their electric truck factory plans on hold. The reasoning for this move given in media reports was a significantly better business with electric buses than with electric trucks in Canada.
BYD is greatly expanding its already enormous production network for electric buses. BYD is the world’s largest producer of electric buses, garnering the largest electric bus contracts in South America, North America, Europe, South Asia, North East Asia, and of course, China. In December 2018, the first BYD electric bus made in France rolled off the assembly line. The Chinese company also operates an electric bus plant in Hungary that supplies most European markets.
As governments race to rapidly decarbonize their transport sectors, BYD (short for Build Your Dreams) has placed themselves in an ideal situation to supply the public transport sectors across the globe – a rapidly growing market for which, so far, conventional vehicle makers have literally missed the bus.