China’s BYD has cleared an important hurdle in its quest to bring its electric buses to U.S. roads, passing an important crash safety test. This should allay some fears of substandard Chinese bus construction, though the real test will come on America’s roadways.
The 40-foot version of BYD’s electric bus passed the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center’s structural integrity program, which has the backing of the Federal Transit Authority. Altoona found the bus meets Federal safety standards, meaning it can legally operate on U.S. roadways. There had been some concerns regarding the quality of the BYD’s buses after pre-production models developed cracks from subpar welding.
The Feds have been tightening the screws on bus companies coast to coast after a series serious and fatal accidents, and BYD has already experienced the drolls of American bureaucracy first hand. BYD’s contract with Long Beach, California was terminated following a snafu regarding minority-owned parts suppliers, meaning they have to reapply all over again. It’s not all bad news though; BYD has seen orders of its EVs start to take off in China, and the electric bus itself can go up to 30 hours between charges, a big benefit to busy transit authorities.
Next up, BYD plans to test its 60-foot electric bus and run it through the Altoona’s battery of safety tests. Will it also match America’s rigorous safety standards? Can BYD overcome pre-defined prejudices against Chinese-built automobiles in general?
Altoona Testing of First 40-foot, Zero-Emissions Electric Rapid Transit Bus is Complete
The BYD Electric Bus is first 40-foot electric bus to complete the Federal Transit Administration’s sponsored testing
ALTOONA, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center under the Larson Institute and sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), last week completed the FTA’s “new model bus testing program” of the first 40-foot, all-electric bus. The BYD Electric Bus has successfully completed the Altoona structural integrity testing program in a fast 116 track days *with full reports published soon. This is the world’s first and only long-range battery electric transit bus in mass production and the only bus capable of driving continuously for up to 24 hours on-a-single-charge that has also received TVM approvals and qualified for FTA funded projects.
“We believe that our 40-foot bus is one of the most structurally sound transit buses on roads today. Yet like all manufacturers, our engineers found ways, through this testing, to make improvements to ensure the sort of long-lasting quality BYD has become known for.”
“The Altoona staff were professional and accommodating guiding BYD through the process and ensuring all testing met the Federal standards. The FTA were supportive of our efforts to ensure that this vehicle, the first 40-foot, all-electric bus to be tested met the North American standards and was properly tested within the guidelines. BYD will commence shortly with the testing of the BYD 60-foot Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) style all-electric bus at Altoona, another first for the Transit Industry,” said BYD Motors President Stella Li. “We believe that our 40-foot bus is one of the most structurally sound transit buses on roads today. Yet like all manufacturers, our engineers found ways, through this testing, to make improvements to ensure the sort of long-lasting quality BYD has become known for.” BYD’s electric bus has no transmission, clutches or drive train but has instead two robust in-wheel-drive motors powered by batteries on board the bus. BYD sees this recent accomplishment as the first of many, in what will be a long and productive relationship with the Altoona Bus Testing and Research Center. The 40 foot BYD Electric Bus is just the first of three different size options that will be offered to the United States for the 2014/2015 deliveries. Next at Altoona will be the 60-foot articulated BYD All-Electric bus.
BYD Motors Inc is an American manufacturing company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of BYD Company Ltd, the largest domestic auto-manufacturer and electric-bus manufacturer in the world. BYD is a publicly traded company, with the Hong Kong listed stock 60% of which is owned by U.S. investors, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as the largest single shareholder at 9.9%.
BYD Motors established its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles in October 2011 and has now hired over 60 Americans to support BYD Electric Bus and Energy Module factories in Lancaster, California which will be delivering their first electric buses next month. There are also over 25 American research and development and sales support personnel at the Los Angeles headquarters. BYD expects to create 100 new jobs by the end of this year, with 200 by the end of next year all devoted to building BYD’s breakthrough battery technologies enabling zero-emission, electric buses, higher utility fleet delivery vehicles, taxis and longer lasting batteries than any other manufacturer in the U.S.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, BYD’s mission is to create safer and more environmentally-friendly battery technologies. This has resulted in the BYD Iron Phosphate Battery, a fire-safe, completely recyclable, and incredibly long-cycle technology — the foundation of BYD’s clean energy platforms. The technology BYD has brought to the U.S. has been touted as break-through with the following distinctions:
BYD Electric buses run entirely off battery power lasting up to 24 hours on a single charge, with single off-peak charging time of 2-4 hours.
Buses run entirely off of batteries, with NO transmissions, clutches, or an internal-combustion engine.
40-foot buses can hold up to 60 passengers, (60-foot articulated buses carry 90 passengers) and are designed with low floors without any steps, made possible with in-wheel hub motors, making it elderly and disability friendly.
Battery chemistry is environmentally friendly, making it disposable and pollution-free with zero-emissions.
Due to its track record for superior technology, BYD has won the most contracts for battery-electric buses in the World and the United States.
BYD has globally produced more battery-electric buses than any other manufacturer with over 1,300 buses worldwide.
BYD’s battery electric bus has been tested for more North American miles at more Transit Authorities than any other electric bus.
A single BYD Electric Buses has the ability to save 2.77 trees per day, literally a forest each month on U.S. roads in Carbon Dioxide offsets.
Source: BYD | Image: A prototype BYD K9 all-electric bus.