LA-Area Transit Officials Tout Electric Bus Company BYD “Breakthrough Technology” as “Clean, Silent, and Efficient”

Attorney spokesman Lanny Davis corrects “misinformation,” confirms above minimum wage compensation and new California jobs creation

LOS ANGELES--()--Los Angeles area transit officials, in a national telephonic press conference, today praised BYD, a U.S. company owned by a parent company in China, for its electric bus technology, which they described as “clean, silent, and efficient.”

“We are very excited that our parent company in China has invested in the United States to create a U.S. company and new jobs, bringing exciting green, electric transportation technology to America,” said Stella Li, the CEO of BYD Motors Inc.

BYD, which has administrative offices in Los Angeles and a factory facility in Lancaster, California, today rebutted what its attorney and spokesman, Lanny Davis, called “misinformed and inaccurate” press reports about wages and job creation at the company. Davis stated that BYD paid these five engineers approximately 60% above California’s minimum wage and is creating dozens of new California jobs in its work force and among vendors in its first year, with projections for many more in the next several years.

BYD was awarded three contracts in the last year: a contract to supply 10 electric buses to Long Beach, California, with options for more; up to 25 electric buses to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA); and 2 buses to Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Lancaster, California.

The company, in which Warren Buffett was an early investor, uses breakthrough technology batteries. The BYD electric bus system, because of on-board chargers, does not require expensive charging stations and related infrastructure that can double the cost of an electric bus system.

BYD’s bus’s electric clean air technology is silent, efficient, and can be used anywhere there is standard AC power. This technology is specially designed to be used by transit authorities without changing the way they operate. The superior longer life and safer Iron-Phosphate BYD battery will last for the entire bus life – making the total cost of ownership less than a conventional air-polluting bus. Once a bus-life is over, and the bus is retired (usually about 12 years), the BYD-type batteries will be available for re-use for another 20 years, in non-transportation uses such as at home and in electrical utilities.

Among those Los Angeles Area transit and elected officials who participated in today’s press conference were:

  • The Honorable Mike Antonovich, Los Angeles County Supervisor and LA Metro Board Member, Los Angeles Board of Supervisors member
  • The Honorable R. Rex Parris, Mayor of Lancaster, California
  • Richard Hunt, General Manager Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Ruben Gonzalez, Vice President for Public Policy and Political Affairs, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Janice Marsh, I/O Controls (BYD vendor)

LA Supervisor Mike Antonovich stated: “These environmentally clean and economic electric buses will benefit the people of Los Angeles.” LA Authority Manager Hunt said: “The technology of this BYD bus system is truly break-through, especially the battery, which is long-lasting and safe and is superior to any competitor alternative that I know of.” Mayor Rex Parris of Lancaster praised BYD for creating “new California high-technology jobs, not only at BYD but among BYD’s many California vendors.” These vendors, Davis wrote in his letter, included American Moving Parts, ZeMarc Corporation, I/O Controls, and Ricon Corporation based in Los Angeles and Transit Information Products, located in Concord.

“Above Minimum Wage”

On the issue of compensation, Davis, in his letter to the CEO of Long Beach Transit delivered and released today, stated that the five engineers from China who came here temporarily for BYD over the last 5-6 months were paid hourly rates ranging from $12-$16/ hour – i.e., substantially above California’s $8.00/hour minimum wage, despite published reports to the contrary. Indeed, Davis said, all BYD current engineers earn more than California’s minimum wages. Two have left and three will leave at the end of December.

New U.S. Job Creation

Davis wrote that in the last two years, BYD has gone from zero to 35 full-time new jobs, working in the administrative offices in Los Angeles and in the manufacturing facility in Lancaster. Of these 35, 21 are U.S. citizens and seven are green-card holders applying for U.S. citizenship, with others with various legal visas. The company is projecting about 100 new American jobs by the end of 2014 and about 200 by the end of 2015.

Compliance with Buy America Requirement; Testing Confirms Safety

In his letter, Davis also reminded the Long Beach Transit CEO that Long Beach Transit’s independent, pre-award audit confirmed BYD’s compliance the with the Buy America Act, with a commitment to use more than 70% U.S.-Manufactured content. As to ongoing testing in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Davis wrote that the Altoona tests have confirmed BYD’s bus’s safety, not revealing any safety issues, and that the unit tested in Altoona is essentially the same model BYD will deliver to Long Beach Transit.

“If you hear negative rumors or innuendo, certainly those reported in the newspapers anonymously,” Davis concluded, “please call BYD management or me personally and we will give you the facts.” Please visit www.byd.com/na/media/record.html.

ABOUT BYD

BYD Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to “solve the whole problem” has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several High-tech sectors including High-efficiency Automobiles, Electrified Public Transportation, Environmentally-Friendly Energy Storage, Affordable Solar Power and Information Technology and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) services.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate (or “Fe”) Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the core of their clean energy platform that has expanded into automobiles, buses, trucks, utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. BYD and all of their shareholders, including the great American investor Warren Buffett, see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future. BYD has made a strong entrance to the North, Central and South American markets with their battery electric buses, and lineup of automobiles. Their mission lies not just in sales growth, but also in sociological integration and local job creation as they have poured incredible investments into developing offices, dealerships and manufacturing facilities in the local communities they now call home, truly a first for Chinese companies. For more information, please visit www.byd.com.

ABOUT LANNY J. DAVIS

Lanny J. Davis, the principal in the Washington law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, which specializes in legal crisis management, served as President Clinton’s special counsel (1996-98) and as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (2006-07). Davis is a lawyer, crisis manager, consultant, author, and television commentator who counsels individuals, corporations, and others under scrutiny on crisis management and legal issues with developing legal, media and governmental strategies that are designed to best produce successful results for his clients. In 2005 President George W. Bush appointed Lanny to serve on the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2005 Intelligence Reform Act. In that capacity, he received the highest level security clearances so that he could be fully briefed and “read in” to the various anti-terrorist surveillance and financial tracking programs at the highest classified level. He has been a regular television commentator and has been a political and legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and network TV news programs and has published numerous op-ed/analysis pieces in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other national publications. He is currently a contributor to Fox News, and has a “Purple Nation” column that appears regularly in The Hill, The Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, The Daily Caller, and Newsmax. He is the author of the book “Crisis Tales – Five Rules for Handling Scandal in Business, Politics and Life” published by Simon & Schuster. He can be followed on Twitter @LannyDavis. His website is: www.lannyjdavis.com.

Letter to Mr. Kenneth McDonald

December 12, 2013

Mr. Kenneth McDonald
President and Chief Executive Officer
Long Beach Transit
1963 E. Anaheim Street
Long Beach, CA 90813

RE: FACTS ABOUT BYD MOTORS, INC. AND BYD COACH & BUS LLC

Dear Mr. McDonald:

I write to set the record straight on behalf of two American companies, BYD Motors Inc. and BYD Coach & Bus LLC (collectively, “BYD”), regarding the compensation their parent company pays its employees. Contrary to what you might have read in various publications, BYD’s China-based parent pays its employees who temporarily visit our California sites above California’s minimum wage for their work in the United States.

More important is the indisputable fact that BYD are U.S. companies based in California and creating new California jobs, both directly and indirectly. As BYD continues to grow and bring its cutting-edge technology to more municipalities, so will the number of new California-based jobs that BYD creates.

We understand why you might be confused. Over the past few weeks, media reports and false rumors and innuendo, as well as a non-final citation by the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, have caused misinformation to be repeated so many times that many now take it to be true. The purpose of my letter is thus simple: set the record straight so that you can differentiate facts from fiction.

Here are actual facts.

I. BYD’s Parent Company’s Compensation

Five professionals, including three engineers, temporarily came to the United States from China and worked in California during parts of their stays. For their time in the United States, they earned more than California’s minimum wage (which is $8.00/hour). Specifically, these five temporary workers earned on average approximate hourly rates ranging from $12/hour to $16/hour for their work. Moreover, in addition to the foregoing financial compensation, the parent company provided the employees with a house and their own bedrooms and access to two rental cars that they shared for personal and business use. And, of course, they continued to have the typical employee benefits of BYD’s parent, such as health care.

These facts are indisputable, and backed up by employee wage statements and bank records. We would be happy to provide you more detail on each employee’s wages if you would find that helpful.

II. BYD’s Job Creation

As you might know, BYD Motors Inc. is headquartered in Los Angeles and BYD Coach & Bus LLC is based in Lancaster. All told, as of November’s end, these two companies employed 35 full-time professionals and other employees, 21 of whom are U.S. citizens, seven of whom are green-card holders applying for American citizenship, and seven others who are here on various legal visas (plus additional professional service contractors). We have thus built BYD from zero to 35 employees in two years’ time, and we are growing.

Critically, our California job creation is not limited to our own employees. We buy products and services from 22 California vendors to run our operations and build our vehicles. These vendors range from American Moving Parts, ZeMarc Corporation, and Ricon Corporation based in Los Angeles to Transit Information Products located in Concord. Thus, our economic contribution to California extends well beyond our own company’s employees and products. And, as BYD grows as American companies providing clean and silent, electric-vehicle technology, so we hope will new jobs among BYD’s American vendors, many of whom are small businesses.

III. Other Issues

I do not intend this letter to rebut every piece of misinformation that has circulated in the last several months, although we expect to do that in a new link on the BYD website that we are establishing – FACTS ABOUT BYD. Let me address, however, two that have arisen from Federal Transit Administration inquiries.

Buy America Act Compliance. Long Beach Transit’s independent, pre-award audit itself confirmed BYD’s commitment to more than 70% U.S.-manufactured content. This audit report is publicly available.

Altoona Testing. The testing of the bus that BYD will deliver to Long Beach Transit pursuant to its contract has confirmed that the bus is safe. The Federal Transit Administration’s tests at its Altoona, Pennsylvania facility have not revealed any safety issues. Rumors to the contrary are false. Moreover, the unit tested in Altoona is essentially the same model BYD will deliver to Long Beach Transit – there is no material difference between the two. Rumors to the contrary are likewise false.

The most important fact is this: this is an example of a Chinese company investing in the United States and creating new American jobs with cutting-edge battery technology. BYD’s technology produces electric power that is clean, silent, and economically efficient, without the need for multiple charging stations throughout a municipality. This is why Warren Buffet, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, and many others in the United States are excited about BYD establishing themselves in California. Our U.S. employees are excited to continue building their companies here and helping municipal transit systems provide greener, more efficient transportation.

If you hear negative rumors or innuendo, certainly those reported in the newspapers anonymously, please call BYD management or me personally and we will give you the facts. We hope that you are proud of Long Beach Transit’s decision to contract with BYD.

Yours truly,

Lanny J. Davis, Esq.
Attorney, BYD

cc:

Mayor Robert Foster (via e-mail)
Long Beach City Council (via e-mail)
Long Beach Transit Board of Directors (via e-mail)

Contacts

BYD
Micheal Austin, 1-800-BYD-Auto
inquiries@byd.com
or
Matthew Jurjevich, 1-800-BYD-Auto
cell: 213-400-3383
inquiries@byd.com

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Contacts

BYD
Micheal Austin, 1-800-BYD-Auto
inquiries@byd.com
or
Matthew Jurjevich, 1-800-BYD-Auto
cell: 213-400-3383
inquiries@byd.com