Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD has won a contract to supply a fleet of battery powered buses to a Canadian private bus operator based in Vancouver.

WestCoast Sightseeing, Vancouver's largest private bus operator, has awarded an exclusive multi-million dollar contract to BYD to renew its entire fleet of 90 buses with zero-emission vehicles by 2023. 

The tour operator would also push local municipal authorities to develop a recharging network across the city to encourage a broader uptake of EVs. CEO Rob Safrata said his company was "working towards a greener and more sustainable future".

BYD said it had spent more than US$250m in North America and sold or leased more than 600 battery buses in the region so far.

The company also passed the 600 sales mark for battery buses in Europe last month after it announced a deal for 26 with Swedish operator Nobina. These will be produced at BYD's factory in Komarom, Hungary.

The company claimed it had sold over 35,000 e-buses worldwide so far, most in China.

Separately, an agreement had been signed between China's Weichai Power Company, a research institute of China Energy Investment Corporation and two manufacturers, to develop and produce hydrogen powered heavy duty mining trucks with a carrying capacity of more than 200 tonnes.

The report suggested China had stepped up efforts to develop hydrogen as a significant fuel of the future, for applications ranging from automotive to aerospace/space.