Clean Transport

Published on April 5th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


BYD Electric Bus Contract Cancelled By Long Beach Due To Technical Error

April 5th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2

BYD North America

The city of Long Beach cancelled the winning bid from China’s BYD to provide electric buses to the California city over a rather silly omission. While both Long Beach and BYD expect to re-win the $12.3 million electric bus contract, this issue highlights the unending hurdles companies have to leap through to bring vehicles to the road.

BYD failed to include what percentage of its business it plans to get from “disadvantaged” (i.e. poor/minority) businesses per the Federal government’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program. It took city officials nine months to find the problem, cancelling the winning bid and forcing BYD to re-file for the contract. BYD opted not to appeal as a good faith gesture. But Chief Executive Stella Li was obviously not happy with the situation, saying;

“It is surprising that the FTA waited nine months to withdraw funding from this contract—after BYD spent millions of dollars—due to what can only fairly be described as a technical error that in no way casts doubt on our deep commitment to purchase from disadvantaged businesses.”

Unfortunately for BYD, not dotting its i’s or crossing its t’s will cost it a lot of money, and time. The bidding process will take another three months, adding more time to the long wait for the record-setting all-electric buses. And while BYD is confident it will win the bid once again, there’s always the chance another electric bus maker, such as Proterra, could snipe the lucrative contract.

If it did lose the contract, that would be a major setback for BYD’s ambitious American expansion plans, which have stalled time and again. BYD is learning the hard way how American government works.

Basically, not well.

Source:  L.A. Business Journal

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Ronald Brakels

    All for decreased discrimination in the United States. Just think that the United States is perhaps mistaken to rely on Chinese bus manfacturers to achieve this goal for them. Of course, since there are people in the US who view the society in the Hunger Game movies as a goal rather than a warning, I can understand a reluctance to alter any form of anti-discrimination legislation in case a rider gets attached making it legal to kick beggers..

  • Offgridmanpolktn

    If this was just an issue of race or giving minorities an opportunity then there was no reason to disqualify the BYD bid because the Chinese are a minority in this country. This was pure politics where the old boy network saw a Chinese company able to produce a better quality product more economically than any American company. So set to finding any kind of nit picking detail to try and prevent it from happening. If it had been Proterra they would have been allowed to amend their bid, but since it was BYD they are making them start all over again.
    Admittedly this comes from my own dissatisfaction of not being able to purchase BYD’s economical high range EV’s in this country, but that is another story.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m not sure about that. It simply looks like the contract was not properly executed.

      Back to the beginning, do it right.

      • Offgridmanpolktn

        Back to the article and read it again. It takes over nine months to find and point out the error in the contract while the company spends millions in startup funds due to the good faith understanding that the contract has been accepted.
        So as stated by myself, in many previous examples when there has been this type of error in contract deals, the parties agree to a simple rewrite. But here with a company that is perceived as Chinese (even though a lot of its startup money came from here) the whole bid process and associated costs are being required to be redone.

  • rogerclegg

    Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all
    in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It’s good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive;
    it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to
    award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost
    always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and
    this model brief: ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose. (Note also that there is no reason to use race, etc. as a proxy for being “poor” or “disadvantaged,” because there are plenty of nonminorities who fall into these categories, and plenty of minorities who don’t.)

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract?”

      It’s very simple.

      White men get more opportunities because white men have been running things since before this country was founded.

      We need a pathway for women and minority run businesses to get a foot in the door.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Here’s something interesting that is happening, Roger.

        Women are becoming the majority in colleges and universities. Not only that, but women are earning a disproportionate amount of the higher grades.

        That means that over time women are going to be getting the good jobs and men are going to get left behind.

        Here’s something else interesting, Roger.

        White people are likely to be a minority by 2043. Already whites are a minority among those under the age 5.

        I would suggest white males tread carefully in their treatment of non-whites and women. Otherwise we might see the establishment of John Crow laws.

        • rogerclegg

          Re your first post: Your rationale for discrimination was rejected by the Supreme Court 25 years ago in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., and rightly so (among other things, you are using race as a proxy for disadvantage, as I warned against in my earlier post). Re your second post: As America becomes more and more multiethnic and multiracial, it is more and more untenable for the government to pick winners and losers on the basis of someone’s skin color or what country his or her ancestors came from. The only workable system is one where nobody is discriminated against on those bases.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So you are against creating an environment in which non-white males get opportunities?

          • rogerclegg

            Come on, Bob. Read the second sentence of my first post, for starters. You must have had a big bet on Florida tonight to be so cranky.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You mean – “no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex.”?

            Do you not understand that minority start up companies don’t get the sort of good old boy helping hands that white guys have been enjoying for centuries?

            That the way to break down the color/gender ceiling is to create some opportunities so that minority businesses can get established?

            And, no, I would never have any money on Florida. I have a couple of degrees from Florida State, never support the lizards.

            Now, this site is about clean energy. Not about white boys getting all worried that they might lose some of their privileged status and have to compete against the other 75%. So how about we get back to cleantech and you can find other places to exhibit your racism.

          • rogerclegg

            Odd to accuse me of “racism” when I’m the one in this exchange who has stated that he is opposed to government policies that discriminate on the basis of race, no matter who the victim is. And for the third time, it’s a mistake to use race as a proxy for disadvantage and advantage.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Roger, if you don’t want people to assume you’re a racist then you should avoid posting typical racist talking points.

            Now, let’s get back to ways to cut our use of fossil fuel, shall we?

          • rogerclegg

            Nothing remotely racist in anything I posted; by all means, you should stick to fossil-fuel issues.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Roger, you are very careful to couch your comments in a way so that they aren’t obviously racial. At the least you are careful to give yourself wiggle room when someone calls you on your ‘stuff’.

            You simply push the carefully crafted right-wing argument and blow the dog whistles.

            You’ve made a career out of defending the privileges of white people, including their right to bully gays and a bit of anti-environmentalism thrown in for good measure.

            People like you are an insult to decent people of all colors and orientations.

          • rogerclegg

            As they say, a “racist” is defined as someone winning an argument with a liberal. Good night, Bob.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Consider becoming a better person, Roger. Even cousin George figured it out before it was too late for him.

        • A Real Libertarian

          I should point out that there is systematic discrimination against men.

          Check out page 17 “How NISVS Measured Sexual Violence” and check out the numbers for last 12 Months:

    • A Real Libertarian

      I’m just going to post this link here:

  • agelbert

    The Big Oil dinosaur keeps thrashing its tail around in its death throws.

    Some points to consider:

    1. Warren Buffett is backing BYD and he is going to raise holy hell about this. Big Oil will have to back off.

    2. The renewable energy solar meteor has hit hard in California. The big oil dinosaurs will be extinct soon but they are, true to form, doing what they do (buy politicians and play dirty on the energy playing field).

    3. Big Oil money, while substantial at present, runs on an unviable “business” model that is unviable because of the renewable energy meteor strike. They are experiencing heavy demand destruction.

    4. The bigger they are the harder they fall. And Big Oil is BIG.

    Outrageously Positive Renewable Energy Growth Prediction!

  • MichelleHughey

    “It is surprising that the FTA waited nine months to withdraw funding from this contract—after BYD spent millions of dollars—due to what can only fairly be described as a technical error that in no way casts doubt on our deep commitment to purchase from disadvantaged businesses.”

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