1st Chinese automaker in US to open Calif. Plants

May 1, 2013 by John Rogers
Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, Calif., and Stella Li, president of BYD Motors, take a demonstration ride on an electric bus at the announcement of the opening of an electric bus manufacturing plant by the Chinese firm BYD, in the Southern California city of Lancaster Wednesday, May 1, 2013. BYD, known as Build Your Dream, is a major producer of batteries and electric vehicles in China. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(AP)—The first Chinese-owned vehicle manufacturer in the United States has unveiled ambitious plans to build as many as 1,000 electric buses a year at a refurbished RV manufacturing plant in the Mojave Desert.

At a news conference at its new facility Wednesday, BYD officials said the plant should produce the first 10 of its plug-in buses next year.

An all-electric bus is seen at the announcement of the opening of an electric bus manufacturing plant by the Chinese firm BYD, in the Southern California city of Lancaster Wednesday, May 1, 2013. BYD, known as Build Your Dream, is a major producer of batteries and electric vehicles in China. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

BYD hopes to be rolling out 50 a year within two years. It aims to be running the plant at full capacity, 1,000 buses a year, within 10 to 20 years.

The buses will be powered by BYD's own rechargeable batteries.

BYD senior vice president Stella Li says the endeavor represents more than a $10 million investment in Lancaster.

She says the plant should eventually employ about 1,000 people.

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