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BYD Enters Electric School Bus Market

Competition in the booming electric school bus market has increased yet again with the announcement from Build Your Dreams (BYD), a Chinese automotive giant, that it is building a battery-electric Type D school bus.

Last week, BYD, which has U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles and a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in nearby Lancaster, California, stated in a press release that it aims to revolutionize electric school buses.

BYD referenced its electric bus will have smart technology that creates a new environment for bi-directional charging, allowing for the battery energy to be put back into the electric power grid. The company explained that school buses can be charged overnight when energy demand is low, and then clean-emission-free energy can be fed back into the classroom during school hours when the bus is parked. This will help keep classrooms well-lit as well as students and teachers plugged in, the press release stated.

“We are raising the bar for design, innovation, range and quality, giving parents peace of mind knowing their children are benefitting from the safest school bus anywhere,” stated Stella Li, president of BYD North America. “At the same time, our buses will give operators the performance and cost savings that will make migrating to zero-emission technology affordable and practical.”

The BYD Type D electric school bus has bi-directional charging capabilities. (Photo courtesy of BYD.)

The lithium iron phosphate battery being used in the BYD Type D bus is reportedly the safest and most reliable battery in the electric vehicle industry. The batteries can cut fuel and maintenance costs by as much as 60 percent, compared to diesel vehicles, the press release stated. The battery allows for 155 miles of travel on each charge.

BYD also said it prioritizes top safety features in its design, including electronic stability control, collision avoidance system and a 360-degree monitoring system to detect pedestrians and cyclists. The bus also adds an additional layer of protection with its predictive stop arm.


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The press release added that the buses can be equipped with IMMI’s SafeGuard lap/shoulder seatbelts, integrated child seats and portable restraints. The bus can also be equipped with an ADA liftgate.

“From the beginning, our team has always been focused on many key features,” stated Samuel Kang, BYD’s head of total technology solutions. “We believed the Type D electric bus needed to be appealing to kids while at the same time offer the upmost safety features and driver ergonomics, be equipped with a safe, high-performance battery, and have plenty of storage capacity for road trips. The BYD Type D school bus achieves all those goals.”

The driver’s area also features comfortable seats, an 18-inch power steering wheel and a telescopic steering column. Other features include a high level of visibility and easy-to-reach controls, in which the driver can control the air conditioning in the cockpit as well as for passengers.

The school bus is available in lengths of 35, 38 and 40-feet, and can seat up to 84 passengers. No information was provided on how much the bus will cost or when it will reach production.

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