U.S. funding ban for Chinese buses arrives, disrupting transition to electric

BYD, a major Chinese electric vehicle company, wanted to be a player in electric buses, but its position is in doubt.

A ban on federal transit funding for manufacturers linked to China goes into effect Monday, threatening to disrupt a major manufacturer of electric buses as transit agencies across the country prepare to spend billions in new infrastructure dollars to replace diesel fleets, the Washington Post reports.

The restrictions take aim at BYD, a Chinese maker of electric vehicles. In its telling, the company embodies significant chunks of President Biden’s agenda, building zero-emission buses at a unionized factory that employs hundreds of people in a struggling part of Los Angeles County.

Frank Girardot, a BYD spokesman, described the company as a global business with American investors that happens to be headquartered in China — and that is being unfairly targeted in the United States.

“We’re not China,” he said. “We’re a private company. We’re a union company.” The company’s experience reflects the broad economic competition between China and the United States. It also demonstrates how the two nations’ contentious relationship is shaping efforts to deploy emissions-cutting technologies, with American leaders showing increasing willingness to bolster domestic companies.

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