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by Matt Brogan

China-based BYD, a vehicle and battery manufacturer, has announced that it will establish its North American headquarters in Los Angeles.

BYD said it plans to produce electric vehicles and associated components in the US for local consumption by 2011. The announcement was made by BYD Chairman, Wang Chuanfu alongside California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor, Antionio Villaraigosa.

The brand’s future HQ will also act as a location for BYD’s solar-panel and battery storage business.

BYD, which does not currently sell vehicles in the US, is planning to sell its e6 all-electric hatchback to Californian fleet users by the end of this year. It is hoped the move will establish a foothold for the company from which it can move nationally, and into retail markets.

“By the end of next year, the plan is to offer several models,” said senior vice president of BYD, Stella Li.

The group does not yet have a distributor partner in the US, but is investigating several options. The specifications and pricing of BYD e6 models for US sale have not yet been finalised.

BYD will employee 150 people directly at its new headquarters with an additional 1000 positions being created in both vehicle sales and support, as well as solar-panel installation.

According to Bloomberg, BYD is already already negotiating the construction of a 10-megawatt iron-phosphate-based battery system for the city with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.




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