BYD Coming to Los Angeles; California Gains a Foothold in EV Market and Clean Tech Manufacturing Sector

Wang Chuanfu

Earlier this month California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gathered to celebrate an announcement that BYD, a Chinese electronics, solar, and electric car manufacturing company, will open an office in Los Angeles to run its North American operations.  In order to mark this momentous occasion and the potential employment and economic possibilities that BYD represents, VERDEXCHANGE NEWS is pleased to present the following excerpts from the press conference announcing BYD’s selection, featuring Governor Schwarzenegger, Mayor Villaraigosa, and BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu.

Governor Schwarzenegger: ...I also want to say thank you to Mayor Villaraigosa for being such a great partner. We are working together so well on trying to get jobs to California and to Los Angeles, and to get companies to move here from out of state and from outside the country... Today...I’m a happy governor, because I always like when I hear that companies move to California and jobs come to California. And this is what we are celebrating here today. I want to welcome with open arms Chairman Wang and his entire team to the great state of California.

Of course, any time Warren Buffett puts $300 million into a company you know this is a serious company—and this is a serious company here, so we are very, very happy. BYD is a leading manufacturer in electric and hybrid cars. They are also doing exciting work in renewable energy. And renewable energy is very important to us because, as you know, we just raised our goal from 20 percent to 33 percent. We are very big believers in solar, and so this company is also going to help us achieve our goals. For example, they are developing innovative battery storage technology for solar panels, because the big problem always is when there is no sunshine, how do you store this energy? So with this technology we will be able to store the energy.

As I have always said, what is good for the environment is also good for the economy. And the reason why I’m mentioning that is because here is a good example of a company coming to California because of our energy policy rather than what some of the greedy oil companies of Texas are claiming: that we should roll back our environmental progress that we are making here. But they’re just jealous, because this is a nightmare for the Texan oil companies. This company is a nightmare for them.

BYD’s investment in California will create, right away, 150 at a time when we need those jobs very badly. Today is also a testament to why I am such a big believer in free trade. It is estimated that foreign-owned companies are creating around a half a million jobs in California. So we welcome companies from overseas to come to California and to create those jobs.

It is easy to understand why those companies come here and why this company has chosen to come here. First of all, because we are the most beautiful place in the world. And we have the most sunshine, we have the best entertainment, we have the most extraordinary coastline, and the list goes on and on.

But it’s also about the environmental and energy policies that we have put in place. This is so important here. If you think about AB 32, to roll back our greenhouse gases to the 1990 level, or if it is the Million Solar Roof Initiative, the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, the Renewable Energy Standard, the Green Building Initiative, or the Hydrogen Highway, and the list goes on and on. That’s why companies like this feel comfortable coming here, because we are steady, and we stay on course. We are giving green entrepreneurs and businesses the confidence to invest in California.

Do we believe that California has all the answers and we can solve the environmental problems? No, of course not. It needs much more than just California. But we are out there and we are forming partnerships with other states, provinces, and countries. Right now, for instance, we are sharing information with China about the Green Chemistry Initiative that we have passed here in California. We’re helping train Chinese officials on how to monitor and reduce air pollution and we are sharing energy efficiency techniques with the Chinese government and businesses.

The reason why I’m mentioning all of this is because China is very aggressive about taking care of the environment. So many times we read about negative news and negative stuff about China...But the bottom line is, there’s a lot of positive and good things happening in China. We want to work together with them, we want to learn from them, and they will learn from us. So it is really terrific to have this great partnership here.

So, I want to say thank you to BYD. They are doing amazing work not only in their country but also over here. We want to welcome them with open arms. We are very excited to have you here in California. Thank you for bringing your company to Los Angeles.

Antonio Villaraigosa
Mayor Antonio
Mayor Villaraigosa
:...Let me just say how proud we are. And you’re right, I am a Democrat, but I’m a Democrat that’s worked with you for the entire time of your term. We both recognize how important it is for our policy makers and our governmental leaders, no matter what party they come from, to focus on jobs, to address climate change, to do everything we can on this issue of education reform. We’ve had a great relationship, and I’m looking forward to continuing that effort.

I want to thank you for the efforts on the part of the state to continue to make AB 32 the law of the land. There are a lot of people who are talking about rolling back AB 32. And you and I know that AB 32 was one of the most far-reaching efforts to address climate change of any state in the United States of America, maybe any country. And I want to say that I stand with you to protect this issue of any rollback of AB 32, but importantly, to address the jobs that come with addressing climate change.

The growth sector in the L.A. and the California economy is in green tech, in clean tech, and L.A. is leading the way, so thank you very much. I also want to acknowledge our esteemed guests. With us today is Chairman Wang of BYD and Ms. Stella Li of BYD, both of whom have been instrumental in bringing this great company to the city of Los Angeles. I was mentioning to Chairman Wang and Ms. Li that it is fortuitous and absolutely coincidental that we are announcing this important decision on the part of BYD to locate its U.S. headquarters here in Los Angeles in Asian-American Heritage Month. Isn’t that a great thing? Because it is no coincidence, at a time when China is rising, that now in L.A.—which was built on the backs of Chinese railroad workers—the Chinese are going to take a place in a new chapter in L.A. history: the chapter of addressing the need to go electric with our automobiles and to move away from an overreliance on gas engines. We’re proud to have you here in the city of Los Angeles.

I want everyone to understand what BYD headquartering in Los Angeles means to the city. It will create local jobs, approximately 150 over the next couple of years, and many more as their businesses grow here in the United States. These jobs are high-paying, green-collar jobs. The company’s business plan is to create products that improve the environment so that we can turn the corner on the global climate change crisis that is a threat to our environment and also a threat to our economy.

The fact that BYD chose Los Angeles among the many cities across the United States, and even across California, speaks about a couple of things. One, I’d like to acknowledge Austin Beutner and the business team that’s over there. I don’t have to tell you that we’re in an economic crisis. Our unemployment rate is at 14 percent. But we have reason to feel confident about the future. We’re committed to addressing the economic challenges that we face as a city and we’re working very hard to create new opportunities for international trade and cross-border investment and Austin has been, and the business team have been, a key part of that effort.

We’ve asked him to modernize our approach to economic development, to make L.A. more business friendly and to do what it takes. We had to move a lot of obstacles, because whenever someone wants to site a company in Los Angeles, unfortunately, there are a lot of things you have to do to prepare for that. But we did them, and together we’re going to help to build a great company. We’re going to make this, L.A., the core, and BYD will be the core of L.A.’s clean-tech hub. Angelenos will lead the nation in adopting electric vehicles.

And as you know, we hope to be electric-vehicle-ready next year, in 2011. We’re working to install the infrastructure, both commercial and residential. We’re providing incentives to do that. We’re using our Department of Water and Power as an opportunity to move to the future, and so I want to acknowledge them.

Wang Chuanfu
Wang Chuanfu
Chairman Wang Chaunfu:
Today we are pleased to announce the setup of the BYD Headquarters in L.A. We appreciate the great support from the state of California, L.A. County, and L.A. city to make this happen.

BYD Headquarters will focus on marketing, sales, technical support, local product design, training, and sales service for BYD’s green vehicles, solar panels, and battery storage stations.

We chose the city of L.A. as the location for the BYD U.S. headquarters due to two strong reasons: First, California has the unique, rich resource of solar and strong government support for the market adoption of solar energy and electric vehicles. The second reason is the high government support from L.A. city and L.A. County.

In the 15 years since BYD was founded, we have achieved an annual gross rate of over 70 percent and have offered a broad range of products, including battery and consumer electronics, an automobile, green energy, and LED. BYD has a strong technical orientation and is an innovation -focused company. We have invested more and more resources to develop green-energy technology to face the challenge of global warming and environmental deterioration. BYD has 15,000 engineers. They are working around the clock to develop the new energy solution.

BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams.” Our dream is a green dream. BYD has three big dreams. The first dream is an electric vehicle. The second dream is low-cost solar power. The third dream is a battery-storage station. BYD has commercialized the electric vehicle in China, and we are expanding their capacity. We have one vehicle called a E6 that is a pure battery-operated vehicle, already commercialized and driving as a taxi vehicle in Jianjiang. By the end of this year we will introduce this E6 to California for fleet testing. Then we will expand to allow California consumers to experience this advanced green technology first.

For the battery storage station, BYD has already established storage stations at more than 10 megawatts capacity with over 90 percent round-trip efficiency. And the lifetime is over 20 years. We plan to develop the energy storage station with more than 50 megawatts capacity next year.

The realization of these three dreams will reduce our dependence on fossil energy, change consumer behavior, stop global warming, and protect our planet. We are working hard to protect our planet and get back to a green and a clean planet. •••