China EV sales up 188%, still dominated by BYD, which also has a huge electric bus contract in Washington State and operates a fleet of 200 electric crossover carsharing vehicles in Chicago

China is a leader in the transition to electric vehicles.  Reports this month are that China EV sales up 188%, still dominated by BYD.  As of a year and a half ago, BYD buses had over 50 million service miles, in more than 150 cities in 36 countries around the world.

BYD is doing well in the US too.  The California office of BYD Motors has been awarded what industry commentators are calling a “dominant” win in the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Heavy Duty Bus RFP that closed last August. The contract allows for up to 800 heavy duty buses from all different propulsion types that included 12 different categories for all-electric buses. The contract has the potential to be the most complete electric vehicle procurement in US history as it includes buses from 30 – 60 feet in length for both highway and transit applications, as well as long-range and shorter range, on-route charging configurations.

BYD Motors was the only electric bus maker globally that manufactures 7 different all-electric buses, capable of long range as well as in-route charging configurations and was awarded wins in 10 of the 12 available vehicle categories and has the ability to deliver any of their buses within six months. BYD is also the only bus manufacturer on the contract with wireless on route charging as an option approved by WSDOT. The mass procurement by WSDOT is being seen as a visionary move by Washington State, clearly establishing itself as one of the most environmentally conscious states nation wide. Any transit agency or public institution in Washington, as well as the state of Oregon, is now able to procure electric buses from the RFP, greatly simplifying the procurement process, and cleaning the air faster.

BYD Buses win Washington contract

BYD is big in its home country but less well know elsewhere, especially in the United States.  Warren Buffett is a major stockholder and BYD has built more electric buses than any company in history.  BYD also operates a fleet of electric crossovers in selected US cities as part of local carsharing services, including 200 in Chicago used by Uber drivers.

The Department of Transportation in Washington wrapped up a bid proposal for up to 800 electric buses in 12 different categories in August 2015. BYD buses was awarded the contract in 10 of those categories. The contract has the potential to be the biggest in US history, since it includes buses from 30 to 60 feet in length for both highway and intra-city applications, as well as long- and short-range on-route charging configurations.

According to Electric Cars Report, BYD is the only bus manufacturer with wireless on-route charging as an option approved by the Washington DOT. This is seen as a visionary move by the state of Washington State, one that clearly establishes it as one of the most environmentally conscious states in the nation. Any transit agency or public institution in Washington, as well as the state of Oregon, is now able to procure electric buses from the RFP, which will greatly simplify the procurement process.

BYD employs more than 15,000 R&D engineers. It has developed a proprietary iron-phosphate battery which boasts the only 12-year battery warranty in the industry. Combined with BYD’s own in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking system, the BYD battery electric bus reportedly offers the lowest lifecycle cost of ownership. It is very quiet and ensures a comfortable ride without vibrations, jerks, or the noise associated with conventional buses and combustion engines. The bus can also drive for more than 155 miles even in heavy city traffic on a single charge.

Barcelona’s transit agency director told Gas2 director Zachary Shahan in 2013 that BYD electric buses seemed to have the same lifecycle cost of a conventional diesel bus… but without all of the health and climate problems.

BYD is well known as the world’s leading manufacturer of electric buses, and also as the leading manufacturer of electric cars in China. Even back in 2013, the head of Barcelona’s transit agency said that BYD’s electric buses (which it had been testing for a few months) were cost-competitive with conventional diesel buses on a lifetime basis. The situation has only gotten better since then, and the last spreadsheet I saw on the matter made electric the obvious choice simply from a financial point of view.

There have been several trials programs with BYD electric buses in Europe, North America, and South America in the past few years.  Due to the slow nature of turning over bus fleets, orders usually occur a few at a time.

16 buses isn’t a huge order, and it’s not actually one order but several (from different operators), but it’s yet another sign that BYD is making critical inroads at transit agencies and convincing leadership that its electric buses are the best buses on the market for them.

  • First 15 of BYD’s all-new electric bus model
  • “Much improved battery technology means that only two battery packs are necessary, allowing increased passenger space in a typical European layout, improved driver visibility and reduced weight.”

BYD bus on Show in Paris: First 16 vehicles sold, RATP trial, complete range now ready for France

BYD, by far the world’s largest maker of pure electric buses, is demonstrating its commitment to the important French bus and coach market at the Transport Publics event this week in Paris. BYD is underlining the strength of its offering by announcing orders for 16 of its all new pure electric buses and coaches to French operators together with a trial with renowned Paris operator RATP and the unveiling of its 12 metre single deck bus – being displayed for the first time in France on its stand No M26 at the Show.

BYD electric bus 2

BYD at Transports Publics 2016 in Paris

Speaking today, Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe said: “France is one of the most important public transport markets in Europe, with its operators being among the most respected for their advanced thinking and efficiency. Today we are opening a new chapter of our sales efforts with the announcement of the sale of the first 15 of our all new pure electric coaches, a world leading model which we premiered here in Paris earlier this year”.

BYD France’s first customer is B.E.Green of Yvelines near Paris which has ordered three BYD pure electric coaches and one 12m BYD ebus to add to its 100% electric fleet. The Nedroma Group of Athis Mons, also close to Paris, has ordered 12 BYD electric coaches – the largest order so far for this new model from a Western customer.

BYD electric bus 1

Patrick Mignucci, President General Manager B.E. Green and Isbrand Ho, Managing Director BYD Europe at the delivery ceremony of BYD ebuses to B.E. Green at Transports Publics

The BYD stand features a heavily enhanced and Europeanised version of its 12m full size single deck bus. Much improved battery technology means that only two battery packs are necessary, allowing increased passenger space in a typical European layout, improved driver visibility and reduced weight.

The 12m ebus on show is similar in specification to the fleet of 35 ebuses which BYD has supplied to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the first in the world to go pure electric for its airside passenger transportation.

The 12m BYD ebus is the first in a full range of BYD pure electric buses for the European market which support BYD’s ‘green city’ vision of offering electric solutions in each passenger carrying category. It is no coincidence that Paris is the location for BYD to offer its range and had been chosen for the premiere of the world’s first pure electric coach model earlier this year. Paris officials have announced ambitious air quality improvement plans which involve removing many polluting diesel-powered vehicles from city streets.

The move comes as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) published a damning report on the worldwide consequences of poor air quality. It said: “Outdoor air pollution could cause 6 to 9 million premature deaths a year by 2060 and cost 1% of global GDP – around USD 2.6 trillion annually – as a result of sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output, unless action is taken”.

At Transport Publics, leading operator RATP agreed to commence a trial with a BYD ebus later this year.