BYD has just announced that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has ordered 130 battery-electric buses. The order has been prompted by the “Green New Deal”, that involves converting the entire LA public transit bus fleet to zero-emission buses by 2030.
BYD’s 9-metre K7M electric buses have a seating capacity for 22 passengers and a range of 150 miles (approx 241 km) and can be charged in 2.5 to 3 hours. As with all-electric vehicles, with lower fuel and maintenance costs, the K7M has more economical running costs than diesel or CNG buses. BYD also emphasises in their press release, that the 12-year warranty on their batteries is the longest in the industry. In the middle of last year, BYD announced it was going to more than double battery production by 2020.
“We applauded LADOT for its bold leadership, ambition, and desire to improve the air quality for the City of Los Angeles,” said BYD North America President Stella Li. “BYD buses will be an important component of the city’s efforts to meet its sustainability goals. We are proud to partner with an agency that shares our green dream.”
The Chinese electric vehicle giant that is the world’s largest electric bus manufacturer will be building the buses at the BYD Coach and Bus factory in Lancaster, California. The zero-emission buses not only meet Federal Transit Administration requirements of ‘Buy America’ but also exceed it, incorporating more than 70% US content. BYD claims that it is the only battery-electric bus manufacturer that had both an unionised workforce as well as a Community Benefits Agreements, which hires veterans, single parents, second-chance citizens and others facing employment hurdles.
The relationship between BYD and LA Department of Transport goes back to 2014 when the department conducted a 3-month trial of a battery-electric bus. In January 2017, a grant from the California Energy Commission enabled the LA Department of Transport to introduce the first of four K9S battery-electric buses from the Chinese company.
Recently, San Francisco Airport decided to go for Proterra electric buses not only manufactured, but also owned in California. Proterra also offers a 12-year warranty but involving a battery lease program.