Energy Efficiency, Finance, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 12, 2018

BYD and Buffet form e-bus venture

Facebook and Stanford University are among the first customers of a new venture created to lease electric buses to U.S. corporations, schools, and cities. The enterprise joins BYD Co., a Warren Buffet-backed manufacturer of electric vehicles in China, with Generate Capital, a San Francisco-based investor.

Bloomberg reported that Generate will invest $200 million to buy and lease the buses, while BYD will supply the vehicles and market them to customers, with the goal of speeding the adoption of battery-powered buses by cutting customers’ upfront costs. The report explained that despite their cheap fuel and environmental benefits, electric buses have been slow to take off in the U.S. due to their high price tag.

Jigar Shah, co-founder and president of Generate noted that banks have failed to offer the best financing possible for such vehicles because the lenders don’t navigate the incentives available. There’s money available, but it’s not efficient,” he said. The venture plans to operate nationally to help customers navigate state and local incentives.

Virtually all of the estimated 386,000 electric buses currently deployed are in China, with only 350 operating in the U.S., according to Bloomberg NEF. The BYD-Generate venture began by financing 24 buses in California, Colorado and New Mexico for customers include Facebook Inc. and Stanford University.


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