BYD Aims To “Revolutionize” The Electric School Bus

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If you have followed the electric bus market for a day, or even an hour, you have surely run across BYD. (And not only because I just wrote an article about several BYD electric bus stories a few hours ago.) Aside from selling thousands of electric buses around the world, BYD has a new bus mission — revolutionizing the school bus.

Granted, there are several companies selling electric school buses, and we’ve written about them several times. Nonetheless, this is BYD’s stated aim, so I’m putting it in BYD’s terms.

Image courtesy of BYD

BYD is rolling out a new Type D electric school bus. The company claims that it has “unparalleled safety features and performance, wrapped in a sleek design that will have students wanting to step onboard.” The design looks very similar to what Blue Bird and GreenPower offer, and I can’t say it’s my favorite (I prefer the traditional look), but it does appear to be the future of school bus design.

Like with its other electric buses, BYD offers various lengths — 35 feet, 38 feet, and 40 feet in this case. The bus can seat up to 84 kids. (Frankly, now that I’m a full-grown old person, it is hard to believe that 84 kids are transported anywhere in a single vehicle. We can hardly transport two without a ton of fighting and excessive noise.) BYD claims that the bus design can even reduce bullying. Seriously.

The new BYD electric bus also comes with a sizable 155 mile range rating. It can also offer bi-directional charging (aka vehicle-to-grid technology). “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-in,” BYD writes.

The Chinese automaker includes various special features, such as “electronic stability control to aid handling, a collision avoidance system, and a 360-degree monitoring system to detect pedestrians and cyclists when the bus is operating at slow speeds.” It can also come with “IMMI’S Safeguard 3-point lap-shoulder belts, integrated child seats, and portable restraints.”

Improvements in the design of the bus seem to center around the driver, which by itself might increase safety substantially — as the driver is the core of safe driving until self-driving AI comes along. BYD notes that it “drew from the experience of thousands of bus operators to enhance comfort and ergonomics in designing the driver’s cockpit.

“The driver’s area features comfort seats, an 18-inch power steering wheel and telescopic steering column, high level of visibility, and easy to reach control switches. The driver can also control the air conditioning over the cockpit in addition to controlling the system for passengers.”

The new BYD electric bus also uses BYD’s tried & true lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. The bus also includes in-wheel traction motors, which provide superb efficiency.

BYD comments that its electric school bus can cut fuel costs by up to 60%, and that it can also cut maintenance costs by 60%. It doesn’t take long for that to add up and for the electric bus to start saving a school district a good chunk of change. Let’s just do a quick math problem to understand this better. If a BYD electric school bus is driving west for 100 miles and a non-electric school bus is driving east for … oh, wait, sorry — we’re not going down that road.

Need electric school buses in your area? Of course you do! Give BYD some consideration and get your local superintendent on the phone to get them looking into the savings possible from going electric.

I don’t want to take away from the other great electric school bus options on the table, though, and we haven’t received any of these buses for a week or two at CleanTechnica headquarters in order to conduct a thorough review. So, if you get serious about this (and you should), also other leading companies in this market. Here are some related stories for a broader perspective on what’s out there:

  1. How Quickly Will Electric School Buses Scale? An Interview With Blue Bird
  2. Blue Bird Delivers Its 400th Electric School Bus
  3. From Ford F-150 Lightning To Lion Electric School Bus, The EV Revolution Is Accelerating
  4. Largest Electric School Bus Order In US History — Montgomery County Orders 326 Buses (Just To Start)
  5. Largest Order Of Electric School Buses In North America Placed By First Student
  6. Miami-Dade Starts Transition To Electric School Bus Fleet
  7. California School District Latest To Order Electric School Buses

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