One of the major global players in electric vehicles is further strengthening its U.S. presence.
Chinese automaker BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it launched its second of three phases of construction at its manufacturing plant in Lancaster, Calif., on Tuesday.
The facility is the site of BYD’s coach and bus vehicle plant. The Phase 2 expansion is part of the company’s plan to triple employment in three years as it faces increased demand for zero-emission coaches and buses as well as its new medium- and heavy-duty truck lineup, which are for commercial and industrial use.
Currently, 400 people work at the plant.
“The people who work at BYD’s Lancaster plant are assembling buses for transit systems all over the country and soon we’ll be able to increase production line capacity to deliver these cutting-edge zero emission vehicles even faster to customers,” Stella Li, BYD America president, said in a statement.
The second phase is set to add at least 40,000 additional square feet to the existing facility and is scheduled to finish in 2017, BYD said. A third phase bringing the plant up to full size and capacity will follow.
When asked if the company has plans to bring light-vehicle production to the U.S., a spokesman for BYD declined to comment.
BYD recently signed a neutrality agreement with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, a union that has 216,000 members.
Lancaster is about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. In July, Shanghai Samsung Semiconductor, a unit of Samsung Electronics Co., bought a $449 million stake in BYD. Samsung said investing in BYD would bolster the company’s semiconductor business for vehicles.