It has to be just another mind’s eye vision! If this is the best that mini-Gord can do in his Windsor Star column on May 8, 2012, then is this deal ever in big trouble:
Vander Doelen: Eletric buses a gamble worth taking:
” The mayor’s BYD announcement was oddly anticlimactic given how much enthusiasm he’s devoted to the project. But maybe that’s for the best. Too much media hype and a gold-rush mentality often get whipped up around such projects.
It’s probably better that Windsor doesn’t have its expectations raised too high again by overblown hopes and promises of job creation from what really is a big gamble.
The maximum exposure city taxpayers have to the project probably amounts to no more than a million dollars or two, in the form of buying buses that might not last as long as the old diesel workhorses.
It might not work out. But it’s certainly worth trying. Any jobs the city and region get out of the effort will help, no matter how short their duration.
Just as long as the city isn’t throwing crazy amounts of cash at the deal, the way the provincial government has with its disastrous “green” energy projects.”
Wow, those Windsor Star columnists must be really well paid if they don’t think that $1.2 million plus is a “crazy amount of cash” in a City that is hurting badly. Heck, if I wanted to gamble, then I would go to the Windsor SLOTS. Oh, I forgot, they have closed down.
I am sure that there will be lots more to write about as the information comes out about the BYD buses deal.
All I know right now is what I heard on Eh-Channel that it is a one-year exclusivity deal whatever that means in which we buy two buses at $600,000 each. Windsor Transit might need six buses per year but the timeframe was not mentioned. That certainly will not be enough volume to justify an assembly plant in Windsor.
Right now, the only real thing of value that I can see in the deal is that Edgar (aka Eddie) might get invited to Omaha to meet up with Warren Buffett at his next shareholders meeting. You see, dear reader, Warren owns a big chunk of BYD so it has to be good, right.
Warren could praise him in front of the masses of shareholders as someone who actually paid money to buy two of the Chinese buses instead of getting them for nothing and then providing to BYD at no cost with all kinds of useful technical information during the testing timeframe.
I would expect it would take at least a year to test out the buses, assuming that they meet North American safety and other requirements at this time, or perhaps longer. Oh, that timeframe means that just when Windsor might want to have a plant here, the exclusivity period is over so that BYD can go anywhere.
I found this comment quite interesting considering that it appears that really the only place where the buses are operating now is in Shenzhen, China:
“Windsor-Detroit also offers BYD a chance to see how their buses perform in a colder, northern climate.
“The climate is different where these buses have been typically running. We have about 2 million fleet miles established already from the technology in China but it’s mostly from Hong Kong, which is a tropical area,” Austin said. “We haven’t run buses in cold weather. We believe they’ll operate with no problem flawlessly but we need to prove that.” (CBC News May 7, 2012)
In case you are interested, here is the Shenzhen weather as outlined in Wikipedia. Not much cold, snow or ice there it seems.
“The Real Reason Warren Buffett Invested In BYD Auto
[Michael Austin, the VP of BYD America] credits BYD’s holistic vision – which includes putting solar panels on the roof of every home and adding solar panels to every parking lot – as being another major feature that attracted Buffett to the company.
“I think he was really, really keen on – even though he didn’t understand the technology, he caught the vision,” Austin continued. “[This is] a Chinese company that’s thinking about the environment, and it’s thinking about how to change China. And certainly Warren said, ‘I need that in the U.S.’ BYD wasn’t convinced that he needed it in the U.S.”
But Buffett didn’t give up. “Warren pushed them a lot,” Austin said. “Because the truth is, the market is in China. The market is in India next. It’s never going to be in the U.S. We’re going to sell, what, 10 to 15 million vehicles here. They sold 15 million in China alone! They passed the U.S. market two years ago.”
To be clear, Austin says that the whole Chinese market is at 15 million automobiles a year, whereas the U.S. market is only at 11 million. In the prior year, the U.S. market was at 9 million, whereas the Chinese market had swelled to 13.
“What’s the penetration for vehicle usage in the United States?” Austin questions. “Ninety-eight percent. What’s the penetration in China? Six.”
With 1.6 billion people, there’s a lot of room for growth. “The middle class has reached 30% – 30% wants a car,” Austin insists. “They don’t have a dream of owning a home. Their dream is mobile. Their dream is getting a car so they can be mobile. And they’ll do one car per family, that’s still the goal. But one car per middle-class family is still 320 million cars yet to be sold. It would take me 80 years to sell 320 million cars in the U.S. and Europe put together. So China’s the market.” (Louis Bedigian Business Insider January 12, 2011)
It seems to me that North America, and especially Canada, is a mere afterthought.