Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYC Co Ltd opened its first European electric bus factory, BYD Electric Bus and Truck Hungary in the northern Hungarian city of Komarom, part of efforts to strengthen operations in Europe. The factory will produce 200 buses per year at first, with plans to increase output to 400. Those buses will be exported to customers across Europe.
The new plant sees an investment by BYD that will total around €20 million in the three years to 2018. Currently, there are 32 employees, but BYD plans to expand that to 300.
Initial output will be electric buses and coaches but other products will soon follow, including forklift trucks and then light commercial vehicles. The plant consists of five buildings: a main office, a battery test and maintenance centre, an inspection line and water leak test booth, a bus and truck assembly hall and a paint shop.
Europe is a key market for buses, with 25,000 buses sold in the region in 2015 alone. Orders for electric buses used in public transport networks are rising in various parts of the region, where residents are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and the impact emissions have on quality of life.
BYD has decided to invest another 10 million euros to open a second European plant in France, given the prospect of brisk demand for electric buses. That factory, targeted to begin operations in the first half of 2018, will roll out 200 vehicles a year.
BYD is the Chinese leader in environmentally friendly vehicles. Such products accounted for 34% of its overall sales in 2016, as the company encourages a shift away from gasoline autos. BYD has evolved in recent years to become an industry leader in electric-powered public transportation.