BYD unveils two electric buses with vast battery capacity

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The saying goes that you wait forever for a bus and then two come along. BYD Motors – the transportation arm and wholly owned subsidiary of storage giants BYD Company – has this week unveiled not one, but two electric buses that can drive vast distances on a single battery charge.

The Lancaster eBus was presented to enthralled onlookers at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo in Houston this week, wowing crowds with its impressive tech sheet: able to drive 170+ miles with a passenger load of up to 120; 60-foot long; running entirely off battery power that lasts up to 24 hours on a single charge, and boasting a single off-peak charging time of 2-4 hours.

But if that wasn’t enough the company also unveiled the smaller, 40-foot battery-electric Transit bus from Antelope Valley Transit Authority (ACTA), which arrived at the show having driven 1,500 zero-emission miles from Los Angeles – all under its own power. Both buses were unveiled to showcase the transformative impact that clean energy technologies can have on society’s day-to-day existence, and as a tangible challenge to the status quo of fossil fuel-driven transportation methods and networks.

The Lancaster eBus was named after the city of Lancaster, California, where BYD Motors has been working on the prototype since 2011. "BYD’s mission is to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies," said BYD Motors fleet sales VP Brendan Riley. "This has resulted in the BYD Iron-Phosphate Battery: a fire-safe, completely rechargeable and incredibly long-cycle technology, and the foundation of BYD’s electric buses."

Riley revealed that no additional generation capacity is required to charge the Lancaster eBus at night, "since the grid is only 40% utilized", he said. The 40-foot AVTA bus was tested in tough conditions during Lancaster’s hot summer days, with full air conditioning running and a full passenger load simulated with 5,250 pounds of sand bags.

"We drove nearly 100 miles more than BYD advertises – up to 250 miles per bus charge, and we covered almost 750 miles in 24 hours," added Riley. Furthermore, the 40-foot bus’s 1,500 mile from LA to Texas is calculated to have cost just $200 in electricity, making it the lowest-cost bus on show at the APTA Expo.

BYD Motors’ mission is to redefine electrified transportation, and is doing so without the need for miles of electrified rails, charging stations or overhead wires. "Electric buses are now a common sight at the APTA Expo," concluded BYD VP Micheal Austin. "This is a complete reversal from the Expo three years ago when BYD was the only company with a 40-foot, long-range battery electric bus on the show floor."

The company has so far produced 1,300 battery electric buses worldwide, with the 60-foot Lancaster eBus the largest of its kind, capable of carrying 120 passengers. According to the company’s calculations, a single BYD electric bus has the capacity to save 2.77 trees per day – which corresponds as a forest saved each month in terms of carbon dioxide offset.