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Chinese BYD close to deal to supply London’s electric buses

  • May 20, 2024
  • 2 min read
Chinese BYD close to deal to supply London’s electric buses

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker BYD is nearing a deal that would see the company supply all-electric double decker buses to London. Transport giant Go-Ahead Group is expected to give the Shenzhen firm a contract that would see it build more than 100 buses at a cost of £400,000 each, saving £100,000 compared with UK competitors, the Sunday Times reported.

TfL has greenlit the decision. BYD has partnered with manufacturer Alexander Dennis in the past, producing hundreds of electric double-decker buses for Go-Ahead. It is one of multiple Chinee carmakers expanding in Europe with EVs at bargain prices compared to their European counterparts. It is backed by Warren Buffet and last year, surpassed Tesla in global sales of EVs for the first time.

But concerns have been raised over human rights. BYD has faced accusations that metals in its supply chain were made using Uyghur forced labour. The United Nations reported in 2021 that it had “received information” that the company could be involved “in alleged forced labour, arbitrary detention and trafficking of Uyghur [Muslims] and other minority workers” through its supply chain.

“We have been assured by the manufacturer that no unethical practices have taken place and would act immediately if provided with evidence to the contrary,” Tom Cunnington, head of bus business development at TfL, said. “TfL is a member of the Electronics Watch Low-Emission Vehicle Programme, working to apply the worker-driven monitoring model of Electonics Watch to the electric vehicle market. All bus companies have individual robust ethical and sustainability policies that ensure the highest standards are met on the environment and workers’ rights.”

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