Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom took an electric vehicle (EV) hybrid manufactured by a company that he once awarded a huge no-bid contract for a test drive Tuesday.
Newsom took the $160,000 hybrid EV for a spin while on a tour of a bus depot facility in Shenzhen, China, while visiting the country to discuss climate change policy with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bureaucrats and local government officials. In 2020, Newsom awarded the company, which is involved in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), a $990 million no-bid contract to provide California with masks as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, according to the Los Angeles Times.
BYD had no history of manufacturing personal protective equipment like masks, but days after its products received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, it scored the contract at Newsom’s behest to supply the masks, according to Vice. (RELATED: California Is Pushing Automakers To Prioritize ‘Equity’ In Electric Vehicle Sales)
It’s a hybrid, that drives itself and can also float on water.
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) October 24, 2023
“The governor toured an electric bus charging depot in Shenzhen to see the city’s success in transitioning their bus and taxi fleet to 100% zero-emissions — the first city in the world to do so,” a Newsom spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Multiple other manufacturers of different EV technologies, including Autel, Capchem and NIO were invited to the event, the spokesperson added.
Additionally, Ke Li, who serves as the president of BYD in the company’s North America office, donated $50,000 in total to Newsom’s 2018 and 2022 gubernatorial campaigns, according to state campaign contribution records maintained by California’s secretary of State.
In addition to the visit to the bus depot and meetings with lower-level CCP officials to discuss climate change, Newsom also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday in a previously unscheduled meeting. Speculation that Newsom may be gearing up for a run for president continues to mount, though his office has routinely denied any suggestion that he could join the 2024 race.
“We assume this trip is so Xi can meet his top salesman of communist manufactured solar panels and EV parts,” Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of Power The Future, said of Newsom’s China trip. “Of course, Gavin Newsom felt a gas-powered jet was the best option because while California pays the worst gas prices in the nation, a governor who runs on hypocrisy is priceless.”
Under Newsom’s leadership, California has pushed forward the most aggressive EV policies of any state in the country, including a ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
BYD’s Chinese and North American branches did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
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