BYD presents next electric school bus doubling as energy source

BYD has presented another electric school bus with bidirectional charging in the USA. The new ‘Type A’ is significantly smaller than the ‘Type D’ the company introduced last year.

The new electric school bus of Type A comes in three lengths of 22.9, 24.5 and 26.7 feet (7 to 8.1 meters) and can accommodate up to 30 students. By comparison, the Type D is between 10.7 and 12.1 meters (33 and 12 feet) long and accommodates up to 84 students.

BYD gives a few details about the drive and battery in the announcement. Unsurprisingly, the high-voltage storage is an LFP battery, but BYD does not reveal its capacity. However, the bus is supposed to have a range of 140 miles, the equivalent of 225 kilometres. Charging is done with up to 150 kW DC or 19.2 kW AC.

At the same time, like the larger model, the Type A can also be discharged by cable, meaning it offers bidirectionality. “The battery-electric school bus is designed to be there for school districts 24 hours a day, both as a vehicle and power storage resource,” says Stella Li, president of BYD North America. Her colleague Samuel Kang, Head of Total Technology Solutions at BYD, also called the bi-directional charging capability “a game-changer”. He added, “School buses can be charged overnight when energy demand is low, and clean emission-free energy can be fed back into the classroom during school hours when the bus is parked, keeping classrooms well-lit and students and teachers plugged.”

Overall, BYD expects fuel costs to drop by up to 60 per cent compared to a diesel bus. Maintenance costs are also likely to be up to 60 per cent lower due to fewer moving parts and significantly reduced vibrations.

Another important feature: Type A has an optional lift tailgate that can move up to 800 pounds or 363 kilograms. This should make it possible to transport wheelchairs and people with limited mobility.


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