BYD and New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Complete Successful Pilot Test of BYD Electric Bus

JAN 11 2014 BY MARK KANE 26

Route M20 throught Manhattan

Route M20 throught Manhattan

BYD and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the conclusion of a pilot test on a BYD 40-foot electric bus, held from Aug 25th to Oct 25th.

It took two months for the final report data to be summarized for distribution.

Kevin Ortiz MTA’s spokesman stated:

“The general purpose of the program was to evaluate how an electric bus could perform in New York City’s heavy traffic, whether the electric bus can meet the twin challenges of operating in the stop-and-go traffic of Manhattan while maintaining high levels of passenger comfort and operational performance”

Tests were carried out on several different routes throughout Manhattan, including M20, M42, M104, M98, M60 and Bx27 and the ebus covered total distance of 1,481 miles. Typical range was 140-155 miles and charging was done at night in 3-4 hours.

In the press release we read the following:

“The BYD all-electric bus “performed excellent” with an average battery consumption of 1.4 miles per % SOC, translating to over 140 miles per full charge in heavy traffic. The average speed of electric bus was ~4 miles per hour under Manhattan’s heavy traffic.”

“After two months of running, the electric bus’s average battery duration was 0.3 hours per % SOC, translating to 30 hours of operation per full charge, as opposed to other competitors that require en route recharging every 2-3 hours during peak-rate times. These uninterrupted operational hours are more meaningful in a busy city like New York, as routes and speeds travelled tend to be short in distance but long in duration.”

BYD states 30 hours of operation per full charge. However, we must remember that in the winter, with heat on, this time will drop significantly. Just 10 hours of using a 10 kW heater (we don’t know what is the heating power is in the ebus) would consume 100 kWh, which is one-third of the battery pack size and this does not include drivetrain consumption. But in moderate temperatures, 30 hours could be achievable.

Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus and SVP, MTA NYC Transit’s Department of Buses remarked:

“This test continues the MTA’s commitment to examine newer, cleaner and more efficient bus propulsion technologies.”

The Chinese manufacturer listed some advantages of its electric buses:

BYD Electric buses provide several advantages over conventionally powered buses;

  • Improved air quality and reduced green-house-gas (GHG) emissions.
  • BYD buses that are connected to power-interfaces can dispatch power back to the grid (bi-directionally) in case of an emergency or for optimized grid utility.
  • BYD buses do not have an internal combustion engine or transmission and many other conventional components, therefore much less has to be replaced or refurbished every year reducing maintenance costs (and labor) significantly.
  • Regenerative braking recovers braking energy, recharges batteries and reduces normal brake-pad wear and maintenance.
  • Expected operating-cost-per mile of an electric bus is ~$0.20 to $0.30, compared to $1.30 per mile on an equivalent diesel or natural-gas powered bus in New York.

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26 Comments on "BYD and New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Complete Successful Pilot Test of BYD Electric Bus"

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Very cool. Aren’t there some American manufacturers of electric buses? I’ve heard of one or two, but do not recall the names. It would be nice to have American made electric buses working these routes in our cities.

ProTerra is American, but also at least some BYD electric buses are manufactured in California. It does not matter much that BYD is Chinese, if buses themselves are manufactured in America.

Naturally for New York economy it does not make much difference, if BYD electric buses are manufactured in California or in China. United States is too large to be considered as single economic zone.

That’s not exactly true. I’m happy that the assembly is being done here, but all of the high paid jobs in research and engineering are being done in China. Then there’s the question of where the profits go. I’m all for electric busses, but assembling it here is not as good as designing it, building the batteries for it, assembling it here, and keeping the profits here to re-invest in other businesses.

That said, I am very happy to see cities seriously considering electric busses from any manufacturer. Progress!

Good points, particularly about the R&D. Sure, it is a modest improvement to assembly the busses here for two reasons: 1) employs Americans, and 2) US laws usually require that products assembled in the US from foreign manufacturers contain a minimum percentage of US-sourced parts (something like 10% by cost, if I remember correctly). However, it is disappointing, both economically and strategically, that the R&D is being done elsewhere.

That is not exactly true. Very tiny portion goes for R&D. E.g. Tesla has highest gross margins in industry and it has car assembly costs 75 % of Model S sales prices. BYD has probably even lower gross margin. Although you are correct with batteries.

Also on long term when manufacturing jobs are outsourced, also the knowhow is getting outsourced, when manufacturing practices are evolving due to experience. Therefore where things are manufactured, is the most important. And outsourcing production is an economic suicide on a long term.

It is no problem to install ethanol or methanol burning heater for winter conditions.

Perhaps propane heaters?

Propane is more expensive. It costs in New York $3.4 per gallon, where as methanol costs only $1.6 per gallon.

Considering the relatively small amount of fuel needed to heat–especially if it can be limited to extreme conditions, why not just use gasoline?

gasoline pollutes, where as propane, methanol or ethanol burns purely. Ethanol has advantage compared to methanol that it is nontoxic.

There is of course less pollution with electric buses, but especially there is less noise pollution.

Actually, nowadays Manhattan and South Bronx are among the most air-polluted locations in the United States (I used to work in a project that monitored air pollution in NYC and 5 other cities). The main two reasons have been old boilers using heavy petroleum to heat large buildings (that’s the north Manhattan-South Bronx area), and of course traffic, predominantly diesel (lower and midtown Manhattan). They have managed to improve things by mandating/subsidizing boiler conversions, and changing to low-sulfur diesel, but particulate and oxides of nitrogen are still very high. See here for reports by NYC government:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/environmental/comm-air-survey-08-10.pdf
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/environmental/air-quality-report-2013.pdf

So buses with zero tailpipe emissions in Manhattan and the nearby parts of the other borroughs, will be a substantial improvement to the health of residents and commuters.

I wonder when NYC announces its decision? Are they haggling over prices and quantities now?

I would hope that is the case. There is a city in Italy that has had electric buses for over a decade…you’d think that the “most intelligent” and “richest” and “most powerful” country in the world (USA, so we’re told) could manage to figure out such an advantage, as well…no hurry, folks…

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

BYD doesn’t have quick-charge stop options? Methinks that’ll be necessary in the wintertime.. And not having to tote around (or pay for) large batteries would be more efficient..

It is by far cheaper to install methanol burning heater into electric bus than to install fast charging charge points that are used day time.

With 30 hours continuous operation in summer, they can afford to spend 1/3 of their battery on heating and still have plenty enough to last from early morning to late night.

it is possible to make also cold from methanol/ethanol.

Perhaps, but the quotes from the report state that the arrangement is not advantageous at least because the supplemental charging by these buses would be taking place during peak consumption, which is more expensive and hard on the already-strained power grid.

What about heat pumps for the heating (like on the Leaf)?
I love them. They consume so little. 1 kW heat pumps should be enough (say, 4 in different parts of the bus, consuming 250 W each). Running them 15 hours a day they would consume 15 kWh. Very little. For a cost of about $2 a day. And if electricity is clean, they are zero emission (for the operation; very little emission for their production). Their cost (in Europe) would be about €6,000 ($8,000). I have no idea of how much methanol burning heaters consume, but I would guess these pumps, in the long run, might be cheaper. And I would prefer them anyway for their clean operation, if fairly clean electricity would be used. Even if electricity is not particularly clean, since they consume so little, I’d guess they would be a cleaner option anyway. And with zero local emissions anyway. But maybe methanol is also clean (including both its production and operation)?

Gets pretty cold in NYC. Not sure a heat pump would work in the “Polar Vortex”.

Ops.
Maybe they could be used anyway, since they’d be great for cooling in summer too, together with some other (methanol, …) heater.

Only 4 miles per hour? That is worse than I expected.

As I understand the article, that is the average speed due to the heavy traffic. It is not a performance limitation of the bus.

Yup. That’s why you should take the Subway whenever feasible 🙂

How about an EV bus and a CNG fuel tank for the bus heater? That would minimize the battery size, and no electricity would be needed to heat the battery. The warm condensate from a 98% efficient heater could be further used to keep the battery warm increasing its efficiency. I’m sure NYC already has a CNG refueling infrastructure for their other ‘green’ busses.

Other permutations would be a small cng ‘range extender’, which would help the battery get through its shift in cold weather, while recharging it slightly, or more like slowing its discharge rate, and then all the waste heat would be recovered to be used either to warm the passengers, defrost the windshield , or keep the big battery warm. All the electricity would go to pushing the bus down the street, and it could be used for much longer runs before having to return to the garage to recharge overnight.