Don Henley once sang of a New York Minute. When it comes to BYD and the testing of its all-electric buses, though, the time measurement of choice is 30 hours. That's how long buses made by the China-based automaker can run between electric charges, according to recent tests.

SAE International says BYD ran the bus through a pilot test with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that was conducted between August and October of 2013. The bus, which ran along various Manhattan routes for a total of 1,481 miles, managed to approach BYD's proclaimed single-charge range of 155 miles. As a result of the relatively short distances (unlike diesel buses, electric buses consume very little energy when idling), the bus could run about 30 hours between charges.

The upshot is that the operating costs for the bus totaled about a quarter per mile, compared to about $1.30 a mile for a diesel- or natural gas-powered bus. Another BYD bus recently completed the first phase of a 10-month testing project in Canada and was also found to be right around that 155-mile single-charge range, even when running at slightly higher average speeds than in Manhattan.

Such results present a rosier outlook than what was implied late last year, when BYD faced questions about bus reliability after buses being tested in Long Beach, CA, were found to have cracks in their frames, according to the Long Beach Business Journal. The city of Los Angeles made an agreement with BYD last summer to buy 25 new electric buses.


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  • 27 Comments
      Koenigsegg
      • 10 Months Ago
      I always roll my windows up when i see a bus, truck or an old car in front of me.
      • 10 Months Ago
      does anyone know what type of battery it is? Lithium ion, lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride? please e-mail me at draeger24@aol.com looking at these for sibmersibles....thanks much!
        Rotation
        • 10 Months Ago
        It is assumed to be BYD's Fe (iron) battery. They do sell them separately. http://www.byd.com/na/auto/FeBattery.html
      Edward W
      • 10 Months Ago
      It's a CITY bus dummies! It's not for traveling across the country like a Grey Hound bus. Jeez no one can please all you naysayers! I bet most of you really did believe in that Mayan prophesy of the world ending in December 2012.
      BipDBo
      • 10 Months Ago
      Since when is range measured in hours? Don't we measure range in miles? Sitting in Beijing traffic for 30 hours might only get you 5 miles. Apparently, though, if it has a range of 155 miles, then it only went an average of 5.2 mph. I see why aerodynamics is not a priority.
        S
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Miles alone doesn't tell the whole story in a big city bus. I am in SF, CA where there is a bus stop at every 1000 feet or so and a stop sign or traffic light at just about every intersection, not to mention the traffic and the 30 + degree hills. It wouldn't even get 5 MPH average here. So the point is 30 hours of operation time per charge under actual use condition is very viable option for big cities.
        Actionable Mango
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Yeah hours is a stupid metric. I just can't take anything meaningful from it.
        John Hansen
        • 10 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Tractors and other power equipment are also measured in hours. Miles isn't a useful metric for machines that perform heavy work but don't move very far.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 10 Months Ago
          @John Hansen
          It's not the tractors and power equipment that are measured in hours (boats too), it's their ICEs. That's because those ICEs generally run constantly, and their maintenance intervals are based on time lines to ensure regular service is done. Electric vehicles don't have those service intervals, making hourly ratings pointless. What a user wants to know, is how far can they go given a certain state of charge. When they're not moving, they're not using charge (as the article points out), so time spent not moving doesn't matter like it does with an ICE that continues operating even when the driver is on a break.
      Dave
      • 10 Months Ago
      Or 3 hours with the heat on.
        JakeY
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dave
        This thing actually can be optioned with a diesel heater, so there is close to no effect on the range. http://insideevs.com/byd-electric-bus-test-results-in-canada/ AC also seems to only have a 15% effect (1.5kWh/km with AC on vs 1.3kWh/km with AC off).
        GoodCheer
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dave
        I'm sure that never came up in Ottawa/Gatineau http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/histGraphNormals?ID=CYOW&records=on&normals=on&lastyear=off "a 10-month trial, which commenced this past summer in Gatineau, Quebec, and Ottawa, Ontario"
          Dave
          • 10 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          http://insideevs.com/byd-electric-bus-test-results-in-canada/ "Interesting are the results from the test run of the BYD ebus, which in Canada was equipped with a small diesel heater that supplemented bus-heating in frigid weather. The average speed of drivers on Gatineau and Ottawa routes was 23 km/h. And the average distance at average speed was 250 km (155+ miles). With a 324 kWh battery pack, this is equivalent to 1.3 kWh/ km without air-conditioning on and 1.5 kWh/ km with air-conditioning and full passenger loads." I guess we need to know how much diesel they're burning. And we need to know how much power it takes to run the AC somewhere warm, not Ottawa. (Also, since heat transfer is proportional to time, not miles traveled, power consumption per mile would be approximately three times greater at 5 mph than at ~14 mph.)
      Marco Polo
      • 10 Months Ago
      BYD electric buses have continued to improve. BYD is an early pioneer of EV bus transport, and for that BYD deserves praise. However, the execution and quality of the buses leaves a lot to be desired. Urban buses have to be very tough, and withstand a great deal of punishment and hard wear. Transit buses in the US are expected to last at least twelve years. The performance quoted by BYD, was always, let's say, ...optimistic. But like most PRC products they're beginning to improve in quality and understanding. It's incredible that GM and other US and European bus manufacturers haven't already captured this market. The main complaint is that there's no resale market for the buses, once the service life is finished. This is a real opportunity for the US government, and local authorities,( including the DOE and other agencies) ,to provide leadership, incentives etc thereby ensuring that US buses are made in the US, for US passengers. Clean, fast, low floor, electric buses are a must for crowded US cities. The Transit bus must lose the negative image of a dirty, dangerous, inferior means of transport, only used by the poor. EV buses are a perfect method of repositioning the bus as a quick, economical and pleasant form of commuter transport. Surely, Americans would rather ride in a North American product, than buy from the PRC ?
        Peter Middleton
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Americans sure as heck dont mind borrowing money from the PRC but at least this is actually at the least assembled in America American companies refuse to put up the sort of capital required for this sort of risk now a days. Play it safe
        GoodCheer
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        BYD has started production in California, so there is NA content. Also, Proterra and NovaBus are trying to get product up and running, but I agree that they have really missed the first actor advantage.
      Dave D
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've said it many times on ABG over the years: Buses and garbage trucks would be some of the best early adopters in terms of usage pattern and TCO for the governments who run them. The volumes will go up, the prices will come down and this will be one of the first strongholds of EVs.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 10 Months Ago
      That's a pretty ridiculous metric. The important info is that the bus has a 155-mile range. That it does those 155 miles at an average 5mph is not really surprising, for a city bus.
        JakeY
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I think the metric is there to reflect the idle losses in standard buses. Just the range alone does not tell you that.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 10 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          Even still, not impressive. Liquid-fueled buses can go for days without refueling. Regardless, I'd imagine to regular operation schedule would be to have a recharge every day when the bus is off duty. Don't get me wrong, I'd much prefer a quiet clean electric bus - I just don't get why the ability to run for 30 hours is considered newsworthy, other than as a simple acknowledgement that BEV buses will work in a metro transit scenario.
        pmpjunkie01
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        If you want to cover three shifts of drivers it may be more important to know how long you run the bus than how many miles it goes. Throw in a charging solution at the station where the drivers take their break and you can run this thing forever.
      zlifeih
      • 10 Months Ago
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      Tweaker
      • 10 Months Ago
      Knowing the hours per charge is highly useful for those of us who had no idea a city bus does so few miles per day.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 10 Months Ago
      That's pretty awesome. How about an aerodynamic front end to make that figure even more impressive? A slightly curved brick is definitely not the best shape, lol.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 10 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Aerodynamic efficiency isn't as important as interior space efficiency, in an urban transit environment.
        Actionable Mango
        • 10 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It's city bus, not a long haul bus. City buses go about 10mph. Or 1mph whenever they are in front of me.
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