Electric Vehicles

Published on April 23rd, 2014 | by Roy L Hales


Canada Approves BYD’s eBus

April 23rd, 2014 by  

Originally published in the ECOreport.

The BYD electric transit bus in front of the BYD Motors Assembly Plant in Lancaster, CA – Courtesy BYD

The BYD electric transit bus in front of the BYD Motors Assembly Plant in Lancaster, CA. Courtesy BYD

Forget all the hassle in the United States, the BYD Electric Transit Bus has just earned Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) Certification and been placed on the “Vehicle Manufacturers Registry” with Transport Canada. According to their news release, this is supposed to include “several standards” that are “beyond the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.”

The 60% American-owned eBus company has had a rough experience south of the line so far. It lost a contract with Long Beach after city officials discovered BYD’s winning bid did not mention the percentage of its business that would come from “disadvantaged” (i.e. poor/minority) businesses per the federal government’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program. BYD claims had to pay the California Labor Commissioner $37,803 for (BYD’s description) not having enough categories on their cheque stubs allowing its employees to take a 20-minute coffee break rather than two 10-minute breaks.

BYD ebus (electric bus). Test vehicle. Photo taken 2013 in Bonn, Germany – Spielvogel, CC0 1.0″ in Wikipedia.

BYD ebus (electric bus). Test vehicle. Photo taken 2013 in Bonn, Germany. Credit: Spielvogel, CC0 1.0″ on Wikipedia

Everything will hopefully be “made better” next week, when BYD holds a showcase of its Lancaster, CA plant. Mayor Rex Paris of Lancaster, county supervisor Michael D. Antonovich from Los Angeles, and a Berkshire Hathaway representative (Warren Buffet owns 6% of BYD) are among the dignitaries that will be attending.

Meanwhile, after a 10-month trial run between Gatineau, Québec, and Ottawa Ontario, the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) and AVT — a consortium of Québec’s nine transit agencies — recently confirmed that BYD’s eBus achieves 155 miles of range and performs as advertised.

So, lets start seeing some of those eBuses on roads!

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the the ECOreport, a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 1,600 since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

  • one.second

    What I whonder is, is there a plan to put pv modules on top of these buses? I get that this is difficult to do on cars because of the curved surface, but on the flat bus tops it should be easy to do with silicon modules and cheap compared to the price of the bus. It could help the range and climatization in summer considerably considering the big area of a bus top.
    So when are they doing this? It would be sooooo cool. 😀

  • JamesWimberley

    BYD has run dozens of successful trials all over the world, but it has only sold buses in real numbers – hundreds at a time – in China. It’s as if city transport authorities can’t quite believe the results. Also, the purchase price is presumably still high because of the small production runs. It might pay Warren Buffett to subsidise the first big order in North America, Europe or Brazil.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That’s an idea that I hope makes it to Warren. If he, and the other investors, simply set up a very attractive leasing program so that cities could start using the BYD buses in a low risk model they might get numbers to make a big jump.

      A three year lease with option to purchase. Along with a performance guarantee. A city could put several on the street and get some real world experience with low risk.

      • JamesWimberley

        Or follow the Renault/Nissan model: sell the box on wheels (same price as for ICE), and lease the expensive batteries. Doesn’t make much sense really as municipal bus companies have much the same borrowing costs as big corporations, but they may be hidebound and risk-averse.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m looking at it as a way to get past the “What if these things don’t work and we are stuck spending all this money” type resistance.

          Set a goal of getting a bus or two on the road in at least one city in every state.

    • “It’s as if city transport authorities can’t quite believe the results.” – Ha, that’s essentially how I’ve been feeling about it. Also not sure how much these agencies are adding new buses, and how much it is a waste to retire buses. But 1 or 2 buses here are there is far too few, imho.

      It was interesting talking with the Barcelona transit manager about this. Their trial started last summer. After a few months, was essentially hitting what BYD said it would do (a little under, but he didn’t seem to care). But basic point was that it broke even over the lifetime cost with their standard bus. You’d think that would inspire them to switch (cleaner!). I forget the number he said they’d add if all went well, but it wasn’t big. Really, need to dig in and find out what the general issue is — “no point” in replacing rolling stock, fear something will go wrong down the road, simply don’t feel the need to get a lot cleaner (govt incentives or regs could help there!), upfront cost (your leasing suggestion is probably a good one), something else?

      • JamesWimberley

        A decision to switch is a system one: the operator has to install several charging centres, retrain drivers and mechanics, etc. Activist and ambitious mayors (as in London) can push for change. A lot also depends on the age of the existing fleet. Barcelona is a rich city and its ICE fleet is probably quite new. Rio de Janeiro’s is clapped out and will need replacing soon. (Declaration of interest: my wife owns a flat on a street in Copacabana with very heavy bus traffic. We would benefit directly from quieter and non-polluting traffic.)

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