After announcing their plans to construct an electric truck assembly plant in Ontario, Canada last year, Chinese automaker BYD has just revealed that they will be putting the entire project on hold.
BYD announced their plans to construct an electric truck assembly plant in Ontario last November, citing the significant growth from both municipalities and businesses as the main reason for their decision. The plant was expected to launch with approximately 40 employees by 2018, as was predicted to have a positive effect on the Canadian economy. BYD reported that parts for the plant would initially be supplied from China, but expected that more and more of the material would be supplied locally over time.
At the time of the initial announcement, BYD stated:
“BYD is a global company, but we like to localize. It doesn’t make sense to build everything in China and then ship it. It makes more sense to utilize the incentive programs and policy changes and create jobs in different markets.”
When the plan was initially announced, BYD’s trucks had not officially been approved to operate on Canadian roads. It wasn’t until June 26, less than one month before right-wing populist Doug Ford took office as Ontario’s premier, that BYD’s trucks gained approval. Unfortunately for BYD, Ford’s inauguration brought an end to several electric vehicle incentive programs.
Ted Dowling, Vice President of BYD Canada, stated:
“It’s just not happening right now, and we’re not necessarily waiting on anything to make it happen. When the business case makes sense, we’ll do it.”
Dowling went on to claim that BYD’s decision to put their electric truck plant on hold was not related to Ontario’s move to scrap the province’s incentives for green vehicles and its cap and trade program, but did not elaborate as to what specifically caused the plant’s cancellation. Dowling asserted that BYD had made more progress garnering orders for electric buses than electric trucks in Canada, and predicted that the newly elected Canadian government would roll out a new program that would have the potential to be better than the old scheme.