BYD Unveils World’s Largest Battery-Electric Vehicle

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BYD recently unveiled what is soon to be the world’s largest battery-electric vehicle at the 2014 American Public Transportation expo in Houston, Texas.

This biggest-ever EV has been tentatively dubbed “The Lancaster” — in honor of the Californian city where it was created.


To be clear here — so that you’re not imagining some sort of battle tank or something — this “biggest EV ever” is a 60-foot bus. Quite a large bus, but nothing that is unfamiliar to most city dwellers. It’s just a bus, when it comes down to it.

The said eBus can, reportedly — and quite impressively — travel 170+ miles with a passenger load of up to 120 passengers. Which makes it easy to assume that BYD will have no trouble finding a market for it.

A payoff for BYD certainly seems to be visible in the offering — which is a good thing considering that the project was developed over a period of almost two years

Sustainnovate provides more: “Chinese battery, automobile, and electric vehicle giant BYD — whose founder, chairman, president, and CEO won the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize, has just unveiled the largest battery-electric vehicle on the planet. With the announcement also comes a challenge to transportation leaders to ‘step out of the dark ages’ and ‘be better stewards’ of our planet. You have to love that.”

“The consequences of our choices today will leave a legacy that our children will live with, both environmentally and economically, for decades into the future,” BYD Vice President Micheal Austin stated at the unveiling of the bus during a Houston, Texas, public transportation expo.

Interesting sentiment. Hard to say if it’s simply “sales talk” of one kind or another or reflects values held on a deeper level by Austin.



The company’s Fleet Sales Vice President, Brendan Riley provided a bit more information, stating: “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 Electric buses. These 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. No additional generation capacity is needed to be built to charge our buses at night since the grid is only 40% utilized.”

“BYD claims that even after 10,000 charge cycles, the batteries maintain 70% of their initial capacity, allowing for a typical lifespan of about 25 years,” Chris adds on sister site GAS2. “Add to that extremely low operating costs (to drive 1,500 miles only cost testers about $200 worth of electricity) and you’ve got an extremely cost effective form of public transportation that gets continuously greener as the grid becomes greener too.”

For those interested, here’s the link to BYD’s press release.

Image Credit: BYD

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James Ayre

James Ayre'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.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

14 thoughts on “BYD Unveils World’s Largest Battery-Electric Vehicle

  • wow. 170+ miles while carrying 120 people!?!?!? Is that correct?

    • No need for the ‘wow’, it’s not that impressive. Thunder Bus from Hong Kong claims to get over 200 miles and other businesses make similar claims. And it’s not that hard to see why: busses aren’t constrained by size or weight and are far, far lighter per passenger than cars.

      Of course, real world figures are quite a bit lower. Most designs currently in use end well below 100 miles on a single charge in real world conditions (including AC, displays, lighting etc). I expect this BYD bus too won’t go too far over 100 miles in the real world either.

      • Larmion – How many Electrc bus makers say their bus will go more than 150 miles? 1 That you think because buses already on the street only go 100 on a charge, this one can’t go twice that far is ridiculous and unfounded. Besides that most city buses only go about 100 miles a day. None of this matters because the reduction in pollution is worth the up front cost.

      • “Thunder Sky Energy Group[32] of Shenzhen, China (near Hong Kong) builds lithium-ion batteries and has four models of electric buses, the ten passenger EV-6700 with a range of 260 km (160 mi), the TS-6100EV and TS-6110EV city buses (top speed 80 km/h), and the 43 passenger Thunder-Sky-EV-2008 highway bus (top speed 100 km/h), which has a range of 300 km (190 mi). The batteries can be recharged in one hour or replaced in five minutes. The buses are also to be built in the United States and Finland.”

        My guess is that we’re going to see a lot of entries into the electric bus market over the next few years. But BYD seems to be there now with a winner which others will have to better.

  • Nothing about cost but apparently it must be somewhat competitive when you factor eliminating dirty diesel fuel and a much simpler to maintain mechanical system.
    For cities with any pollution problems, why wouldn’t this bus become the standard in the near future?

  • I’d never heard of Lancaster CA. When I saw “Lancaster” my mind jumped to the WWII bomber.

  • Not long ago, BYD were trying to sell a smaller version of this bus here in Hungary to the local transport authority of Budapest.

    They offered a 10K cycle guaranty on the batteries which I think is really great.

    Finally, a diesel model won, partly because the capacity of the BYD model was insufficient. A lot of people were unhappy with the decision since the e-bus on offer was very good value (after the EU subsidies, that is).

    I really hope that electric buses catch up because they are extremely clean, especially compared to diesel buses which don’t get proper maintenance (which is the case for 2/3 of the current bus fleet here)

  • The best benefit of BYD batteries is that they don’t use a volatile electrolyte, meaning the battery pack won’t catch fire if it overheats. Generally it takes quite a while for it to overheat, hours in fact, once the cell of a normal battery is cracked, but the fact is that BYD batteries are safer, it’s nice to see that they haven’t been completely shut out of the North American market. That being said, they don’t scale down well as BYD batteries have a lower energy density that those used by other manufacturers, that means BYD cars will still be limited range.

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