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China's BYD makes UCI first US campus to convert buses to all-electric fleet

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-25 09:47

LOS ANGELES - BYD's electric-powered buses will make the University of California, Irvine (UCI) the first college campus in US to convert its traditional diesel fuel-powered buses to an all-electric transit fleet, according the UCI.

The student-funded and operated Anteater Express shuttle service is acquiring 20 buses from BYD (Build Your Dreams) for $15 million. These high-quality vehicles are being built at BYD's Lancaster, California plant to roll onto campus for the 2017-18 academic year, the UCI said.

"UC Irvine has made a strong, forward-looking decision by becoming an all-electric campus, and we know more universities and cities will follow. That is why we are adding hundreds of thousands of square feet and hundreds more jobs in Lancaster -- to meet demand for this important technology," Stella Li, president of BYD America, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Undergraduates previously voted to pay up to $40 each quarter to the ASUCI to finance the bus purchase and other costs. Individual rides are free.

"I hope the rest of the country can follow us," Tracy La, the president of Associated Students of UCI (ASUCI) said in a statement. "I hope other colleges and universities will do this."

UCI plans to slash tons of carbon dioxide and harmful soot annually by replacing diesel with electric buses. A survey of students last year found that of an array of transportation options, the top priority was providing electric buses over conventional ones.

"The hydrogen electric bus emits no carbon -- neither does the battery electric bus," said engineering professor Scott Samuelsen, who heads the National Fuel Cell Research Center.

"This forward-looking decision is proof of what many in higher education already know: that electric vehicles aren't a far-off technology of the future but are here and ready to be put to use today," Li said.

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