The Coimbra Municipal Public Transportation Service (SMTUC) has become the first transit district in Portugal to migrate to fully-electric buses with a newly signed contract for 8 of BYD’s 12-meter buses. The contract was signed by the President of the Coimbra Municipality, Manuel Augusto Soares Machado, and BYD’s managing director of Europe, Isbrand Ho, this week to finalize the deal.
Coimbra’s transit authority tested the buses last year, and based on the findings from the trial, started working on a deal to purchase an initial set of the buses to start the integration. The fully-electric BYD buses join a virtual smorgasbord of internal combustion engine-powered buses that they will serve alongside starting in early 2019.
The nearly 1-year lead time from ordering to delivery showcases just how quickly cities are going to need to order their electric transit vehicles to kick off a transition to new energy vehicles, lest they risk falling behind in the massive wave of transit authorities migrating to fully-electric vehicles around the world.
Manuel Augusto Soares Machado, President of the Coimbra Municipality: “I am honoured to announce that these BYD buses are the first full size 12 metre pure electric buses in the one hundred year history of SMTUC. I am also happy to announce that new tenders are being prepared to reinforce electric public transportation in Coimbra.”
City representative Manuel Machado noted on the SMTUC’s Facebook page about the deal that this acquisition of electric vehicles is only part of the municipality’s investment strategy in more efficient urban transport solutions with better environmental performance.
BYD’s foothold in Coimbra, a city north of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, represents the 10th European country that it now maintains a presence in, with over 400 orders for its electric buses across Europe. The new buses will be tasked with several routes in the center of the historic city of Coimbra, where their considerably quieter powertrains and zero-emission motors will be a welcome change from the fossil fuel-fired buses they will replace.
Globally, BYD has a footprint in more than 50 countries and is excited about the progress into yet another European country. BYD’s managing director of Europe, Isbrand Ho, shared his perspective on the deal:
“We are delighted to be able to add this important market, Portugal, to our client portfolio. From north to south Europe, we have become a competitive player across the Continent covering all the climatic conditions from the cold north of Scandinavia to the heat of Italy, Spain and now Portugal, not forgetting the more moderate conditions of Benelux and the UK. The results of the tests with our ebus here were promising and we are confident that our ebuses can deliver reliable and safe services and help to improve air quality – whatever the weather!”
The durability of BYD’s buses, and their ability to adapt and perform in the wide range of climates across Europe, demonstrate just how robust its lithium iron phosphate chemistry is. BYD is, at its core, a battery company with 23 years of experience building batteries for millions of devices over the last 23 years. While it doesn’t have the highest energy density compared to other lithium-based battery chemistries, BYD’s batteries last longer and are more thermally stable, making them less prone to thermal runaway.