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Clean Transport

Published on June 19th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


New, “Much Improved” BYD Electric Bus Gets First 15 Orders In France

June 19th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Context & commentary: As I just wrote in preface to a BYD electric truck story, among hardcore EV enthusiasts, 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 told me 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 (China is gobbling them up like they are french fries), and as far as I know, they’ve all gone well. So, many readers and I have been wondering when we’ll start seeing big orders of the buses, but due to the slow nature of turning over bus fleets, we mostly see orders of a handful of buses 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.”

The press release from BYD:

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 amongst 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. Further details of the new models are given in the chart in the separate release.

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 (see separate release).

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Roger Bradwell

    The challenge for wide adoption is that fleet managers need a long time to trial buses on their routes for reliability and performance. Small orders become bigger over a couple of years. We are in the very early stages of wide adoption by municipalities. BYD is the market leader in all electric by far but suffers significant quality and performance issues. Proterra is the gold standard for quality of build and performance but only serves the U.S. market.

    • neroden

      New Flyer rates well on quality and performance, and serves international markets. 🙂

  • JamesWimberley

    “Reduced weight”. This is critical. Improved batteries with higher energy density allow improved performance or greater range or lower cost: in practice, a combination of all three. If BYD’s previous design was at parity with ICE buses in total cost of ownership, as your Barcelona source claimed, the new models must be below parity. Perhaps things are beginning to move.

    • The spreadsheet I saw a couple months ago showed WAY below parity, on a lifetime basis. Really seems like a no-brainer for buses to go electric now.

      • Matt

        So is just that managers of bus systems are so very conservative that they can’t get past the talking heads on Fox news?

        • super390

          No, it’s that Fox News and others have created a very hostile climate towards mass transit and public services in general, so there’s no money in local and state budgets to cover the higher up-front cost of an EV versus diesel. Who cares about future savings when the service itself is viewed as wasteful and un-American?

        • Larmion

          Managers of bus systems can’t afford to look at lifetime costs only. Many transit agencies cannot borrow freely due to legal limits or poor creditworthiness, and others are already too deeply in debt to take on significantly more. That’s also the reason why so many transit agencies rely on buses when trams and light rail offer even lower running costs long term.

          Especially the first few e-buses are painful: you don’t just have to buy the bus itself, but also retool your workshops, install charging infrastructure, send your technicians on expensive courses etc.

      • Zach, can you make that spreadsheet available so government administrators researching the topic can find it to support their arguments in favor of adding electric buses to their jurisdictions?

      • I would be very interested in that spreadsheet as well.

      • Mike Gitarev

        I’m interested, too.

  • Mike Dill

    As has been reported here and many other places, the health costs associated with air pollution are large, but not seen by the offenders. Until the costs are properly allocated fossil fuels will continue to look like a good way to go.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think there’s little chance of making fossil fuels pay their external costs. But if we make the external costs well known then it will be easier to create a price on carbon, it will be easier to get intercity bans on diesels, and it will be easier to justify replacing coal plants with cleaner electricity sources.

  • WebUserAtLarge

    I wish there were more news like that on and more frequently, and the orders were in hundreds and thousands… but baby steps first. As the advantages of personal EVs become more apparent, I am sure mass transit and haulage will follow.

    • JamesWimberley

      On paper, buses should be first. They are claimed to be at overall cost parity with ICE rivals already, while cars are nowhere near that and are still dependent in subsidies. We may be at a tipping point, and electric buses may dominate in a few years. The other market where things may move fast is two-wheelers. I would suspect that very few riders need more than 50-80 km range.

      • neroden

        Motorcycles have the same issue as automobiles: higher upfront purchase price costs than the gasoline competitors.

        Buses have the same issue too but transit agencies are more likely to look at lifetime TCO, so I think they’re more likely to buy them.

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