BYD Commits 10 Million Euros to Build Electric Coach Plant in France

(Beijing) — Leading Chinese car manufacturer BYD will invest 10 million euros ($10.8 million) in the construction of an electric coach assembly factory in northern France, the company said Friday.

The plant, which will be located in Beauvais in Hauts-de-France and cover an area of 80,000 square meters, is expected to come online in 2018 with an annual capacity of about 200 electric coaches and will create about 100 jobs in its initial stage, BYD said in a statement on its website.

Xavier Bertrand, president the Hauts-de-France regional council, said the new plant will benefit local employment and help France forge ahead with energy upgrades, according to the statement.

According to a French auto news outlet, the new plant is a result of an electric bus deal reached by BYD and its French partners last year, and it shows BYD’s intention to further tap into the French market.

Additional vehicle models may be produced in the factory in the future. The company also plans to set up an after-sales unit for maintenance and repairs, along with a logistics center for spare parts in the area, the statement said.

Geographical advantages and supportive local government policies are the main reasons BYD decided to locate the company’s second European electric-car facility in Beauvais, said Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe.

BYD is increasing its presence in the European market. It signed a contract with Paris public transport operator RATP in June for a six-month trial of its green buses, which started operating on two routes in the French capital in September.

The Chinese e-car maker said France’s drive for cleaner energy was fueling its business development in the country. By 2025, local authorities plan to replace 20% of buses and all diesel-powered coaches with low-emissions vehicles, according to the French government’s Energy Transition Act.

The new facility will be BYD’s fourth overseas coach plant, after ones in the United States, Brazil and Hungary.

BYD, founded in 1995 in Shenzhen, started out as a rechargeable battery business. It now has 220,000 employees and 29 production bases worldwide.

The company acquired Tsinchuan Automobile Company in 2003 to diversify into electric vehicle manufacturing