Clean Transport

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by James Ayre


BYD’s Electric Buses Can Go 30 Hours On Single Charge

February 24th, 2014 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

BYD’s electric buses can run for an impressive 30 or so hours straight in between charges, based on the results of a pilot test performed in New York City last year during the months of August–October. Charging to full capacity took, roughly, 3–4 hours, and was completed at night.

According to SAE International (the Society of Automotive Engineers), one of BYD’s buses was used on a number of different routes in Manhattan during that span of time, and ran for a total of 1,481 miles. The pilot test proved that the electric bus could indeed approach the 155-mile-range advertised by BYD.

BYD bus

Here’s some more info from SAE:

After two months, the electric bus’s average battery duration was 0.3 h per % SOC, or 30 h of operation per full charge. An advantage of electric buses, compared to diesel bus technology, is that they do not idle when in heavy or stopped traffic, thus conserving “fuel” and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Another advantage is that because BYD buses do not have an internal-combustion engine or transmission, along with other conventional components, maintenance costs (and labor) can be reduced “significantly,” according to the company. Regenerative braking also reduces normal brake-pad wear and maintenance.

BYD and MTA claim that the expected operating-cost-per-mile of an electric bus is about $0.20 to $0.30, compared to $1.30 per mile for an equivalent diesel- or natural-gas-powered bus in New York.

In related news, Daimler-BYD’s first Denza electric car is nearing its release date — the model is expected to be released in China sometime towards the middle of the year. Recent reports have revealed that the EV will be DV quick-charge compatible.

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Image Credit: BYD

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • We rode the first electric BYD bus Stanford bought and it is amazing. Every transit agency should do the right thing for taxpayers and buy these since they are a sillier cost and have incredibly reduced operating and fuel costs.

  • Jim Nelson

    If the bus went 1,481 miles without a charge, it has a range of nearly 10 times the 155 miles advertised. Plus it averaged 49 mph, which is nonsensical for a city bus. Surely you have moved the decimal point.

    • just_jim

      Read the article again. It didn’t say it ran 1,481 without a charge, it said it ran 1,481 during some pilot tests carried out over two months.

  • Chatteris

    Was I the only commentator who didn’t know what the acronym BYD meant?

    • No way

      Yes… 😉 But don’t feel sorry for that. BYD’s brand recognition is only high among EV “freaks” even though they are becoming a bigger and bigger force.
      Most people don’t know what Tesla is yet, it takes time to build brands.

    • Build Your Dreams, they make something like half of the lithium batteries in the world.

  • Jonny_K

    Google BYD vs Proterra to get an education on electric buses and a nasty fight. Proterra is a US company. BYD is Chinese although they say they’ll build buses in the US so purchasers in the US can qualify for federal grants to buy them. The City of Long Beach went with BYD. I can hear the screams and yells from here and I’m 400 miles away. Now the Long Beach grant is being reviewed since the bus sent to the bus test center in Altoona, PA was Chinese not American and it cracked. The BYD buses are very conventional in design. The Proterra buses are high tech and novel in a number of ways. Most novel is probably their overhead charging which is a technology marvel but maybe too marvelous for their customers.

    • No way

      And now the scare tactics starts to make US citizens to buy US made crap just because it’s made within the country.

      • John

        Yea….”US crap”. So by “crap” you’re talking about the US built Bus that has passed the US government’s testing and has logged 100s of thousands of miles in actual in-service use all around the country?

        Then there’s the BYD bus, which started falling apart at the seams during Altoona testing….and this somehow not “crap”? Maybe you have a better word for it then.

    • JamesWimberley

      It’s not much of a race. BYD has sold 1200 electric buses; Proterra is looking for its first 10. All the major auto companies have been caught napping.

      I like BYD’s strategy, and more to the point, so did Warren Buffett.. They have built a vehicle that stands up to heavy urban operation. It’s pricey and heavy, but both disadvantages will improve rapidly. With range and charge life already adequate, BYD can cash future improvements in batteries in lower weight and cost. Expect more screwdriver assembly plants in places like Brazil to meet buy-local requirements and prejudices.

      • Robert

        WRONG: BYD has taken orders for 1200 electric buses. Not sold.
        And it’s in places like South America, Asia and Africa where safety and government certification are not an issue. If it was actually a good quality product it wouldn’t have started falling apart on the US test track.

        Proterra actually has 31 buses sold and in service in the US right now. That’s not counting the orders they have. BYD has ZERO.
        (Proterra delivered 8 in 2012 and 23 in 2013)
        31 may not be an impressive number but it’s better than you make it out to be, I don’t know where you came up with “working on the first 10.”

        “BYD can cash future improvements in batteries”
        Yea, paying employees $1.50 per hour does leave a company with a lot of extra cash for R&D, good point.

        • The BYD pay scandal was totally racism and incorrect. They have now sold nearly a thousand to the middle east alone.

    • There is also wireless on route charging..

      And Proterra has a new partially wood frame bus and a fuel cell hybrid.

  • Omega Centauri

    30 hours, if the range is only 150miles means an average speed of 5mph. I think that most of the time the bus isn’t moving. Of course I suspect 12-15hours ought to do for most usages. So grab some partial charges during major stops at stations, plus whatever it gets from the solar panels, and it ought to be able to handle many urban routes.

  • Chris_in_Raleigh

    Just tweeted this article to my mayor. We’ve got a few hybrids here, but not any all-electric as far as I know.

    • Stanford and even McAllen TX are buying these, plus Antelope Valley Transit, the town BYD’s CA solar factory is in!

      Check out the wireless charging and BYD bus interior at

  • JamesWimberley

    How about a report on BYD itself? It’s a first in any field I think for a mainland Chinese company to lead the world in developing a revolutionary new product like the electric bus. Typical Chinese manufacturers, from smartphones to solar panels, are technology followers – they basically apply cheap labour and mass production. Even BYD is a follower in electric cars,

    Watch out for the first city to move from trials of electric buses to large orders.

    BTW, are electric buses a superior to diesel ones as I imagine? They must be quieter – a major issue in say Rio de Janeiro – but is the ride better too?

    • John

      I searched and got some info abou BYD bus. Its range is 300KM without air conditioning, 250 km with A/C. It has solar panel on the top. It has been running for 3 years in BYD’s hometown Shenzhen, China. Last year, BYD produced about 2000 buses, half of them exported to Europe (London), North and South Amrica. In Lancaster, CA, a factory has been built to produce electrical battery and bus.

    • No way

      I have yet to try an electrical vehicle that isn’t better than the diesel/petrol version (except an electric lawn mover like 15 years ago but not because of the ride but the cutting ability).
      We have a lot of electrical buses here (but powered by overhead threads) and the ride is a lot smoother and better for both the passangers and drivers (at least the ones I’ve been asking throughout the years).

    • We rode a BYD they bought at Stanford and it is amazing and totally silent at stops. The only noise is occasional air brakes.

  • tibi stibi

    30 seems a bit over the top, so there is room to decrease battery size. which will decrease cost making it even more cheap than it is already!!

    electric driving is ready!!

  • MarTams

    That is nothing. My Chevy Spark EV can go for 72 hours for a single charge. It is not the number of hours to cover the distance that matters, rather the actual distance that the EV traveled per single charge.

    • No way

      When it comes to buses (and taxis) it’s all about it making the shift(s) necessary.
      If it can do 30 hours in the environment where it will be deployed then that is more interesting than how far it can go.

      • Bob_Wallace

        BYD taxis are operating 24/7 by recharging during driver meal breaks. They’re going well over 100k with no apparent battery degradation even with almost all rapid charging.

        • No way

          That’s great. It’s easier (and a lot cheaper) for taxi companies to get fast chargers than battery swapping stations. Especially when you’re a smaller company.
          Hopefully the days of fossil fuel taxis are numbered.

        • And no cost under the BYD Chinese leasing program, you pay them in fuel saved or something similar, even at the end of the lease.

    • What “No way” said. I spoke with bus operators in Barcelona. One of their big requirements was that the bus be able to go 18 hours without charging (running one of their routes). This is an important # in the bus world.

    • No way

      But…. If you still want to know something about the range (which isn’t really relevant) then they’ve tried it in Poland and went 192 miles with 31% of the charge left (so maybe about 265 miles total range).

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