BYD K9MD Selected For San Francisco MTA Pilot Project

San Francisco, CALIF. (8/4/2021) – A 40-foot battery-electric BYD K9MD bus will hit the streets in a pilot project by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to evaluate the feasibility of operating an all-electric bus fleet.

Throughout the pilot, detailed data will be collected by the agency on how the BYD K9MD bus can deliver the same standard of reliability and service as the SFMTA’s existing hybrid-electric and trolley bus fleet. In 2019, the SFMTA began a battery electric bus pilot program to evaluate bus performance, reliability and maintainability, specifically how e-buses climb San Francisco hills and test against some of the SFMTA’s most challenging routes. The agency is considering operating an all-electric bus fleet and how to implement a future procurement strategy.

“SFMTA is proud to be a leader in addressing the climate crisis,” said Julie Kirschbaum, SFMTA Director of Transit. “We’re committed to embracing the greenest fleet possible and getting people out of private vehicles and into more sustainable modes of transportation.”

“BYD applauds the leadership of San Francisco MTA for pursuing zero-emission techno logy and sustainable public transportation. SFMTA and its customers will be impressed with the K9MD’s performance,” said BYD Senior Vice President Patrick Duan. “Customers will enjoy a smooth, quiet ride while the SFMTA will enjoy the range, reliability, and lower maintenance costs.”

The BYD K9MD can seat 29 passengers and has a range of up to 225 miles on a single charge. The bus can be fully charged in 3 to 4 hours. After some initial testing, the SFMTA plans to enter the bus into regular revenue service for a period of 18 months. The battery-electric bus will then be evaluated for performance, reliability, comfort, and maintainability in San Francisco’s operating environment.

The SFMTA has operated a network of zero-emission vehicles for almost 85 years. SFMTA currently operates more than 900 buses, which include 650 hybrid electric buses and 275 zero-emission trolleybuses. SFMTA continues to seek ways to reduce its carbon footprint, including research battery-electric, zero-emission technologies.


The SFMTA is a global leader in supporting an environmentally sustainable transportation system. More than 50 percent of the Agency’s transit vehicles, including light rail, cable cars, historic streetcars and electric trolley buses, are powered by 100 percent greenhouse gas-free hydropower generated from Hetch Hetchy.  In March 2021, the SFMTA’s Board of Directors adopted the agency’s Zero Emission Bus Rollout Plan, in accordance with the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) Innovative Clean Transit regulation. The Zero Emission Bus Rollout Plan describes how the SFMTA will transition all facilities to support a battery-electric fleet. The agency’s Zero Emission Vehicle Policy has a goal of achieving a 100 percent battery electric fleet by 2035 (and begin procuring zero emission buses in 2025) while the state’s required deadline is 2040. The SFMTA will be evaluating the feasibility of meeting Zero Emission Policy’s 2035 timeframe. For more information about the SFMTA’s vision of Battery Powered Buses, visit

Images courtesy of BYD


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