BYD Electric Bus Test Results in Canada

JAN 30 2014 BY MARK KANE 11

BYD ebus

BYD ebus

Last month, the first phase of a 10-month trial of BYD electric bus was completed in Gatineau, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. Now, it’s time for Montreal.

“The evaluation was performed by the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) in conjunction with AVT (the Société de gestion et d’acquisition de véhicules de transport) and partial findings were presented at the 2013 EV/VE Conference and Tradeshow in Gatineau-Ottawa by Salah Barj, Director of Planning and Development at STO. The battery-electric bus was supplied by BYD Company Ltd. under a service agreement and continues its evaluations in partnership with the Société de transport de Montreal (STM) until Spring of 2014.”

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.

“The report findings support BYD claims that the bus is incredibly efficient in the use of energy. BYD typically advertises a 250 Km (or 155+ mile) operational range for their 40 foot bus. However, while being driven by an operator who understands the vehicle and how to optimize regenerative braking, BYD claims that the range could well exceed 250 km.”

At higher speeds of 70 km/h, the bus was able to drive even more efficiently: 0.75 kWh/ km (equivalent to 1.2 kWh/ mile). This mean that 400 km is possible and the difference between “with” and “without air conditioning” is lessened at higher speeds.

Salah Barj stated:

“The BYD electric bus was nothing like anything we had seen or tested before, it was able to run our required 8-hour shift in service with only a night-time single charge at our bus garage. BYD’s bus itself has on-board chargers so that only 60 Kw of grid AC power was delivered at night to the bus through a power interface. This made for very convenient charging of the electric bus so that no peak-rate power was consumed.”

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11 Comments on "BYD Electric Bus Test Results in Canada"

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So… when are the orders coming! We need those e-Buses to start covering the planet!

Bob Lutz is right when he says we electrified the wrong end of the business. I can remember the electric buses in the fifties and they were quiet and smooth, hopefully we will see more trucks and buses and cars—-sure am tired of the noise,heat and pollution of the buses here in Honolulu.

I was not surprised by the diesel heating solution for Canadian cities. I’ve considered buying a small liquid fuel space heater and–against any and all legal advice I might be given–mounting it on a metal plate to make sure it never falls over and placing it on the passenger floor of my hypothetical EV when and if I want to have toastiness on a long trip and not worry about range. Heating is one area where actually burning fuel locally at the distribution edge is 100% efficient in energy conversion (of course wall/window insulation and air circulation of the inhabited space is a separate issue).

Actually, when we consider overall energy usage, burning fuel just for heat in such a situation is quite inefficient. Granted, not as bad as burning fuel only/mostly for motion, like in all ICEVs, but still, we can do better with cogeneration. Example: say you need 20 kW*h of electricity + 10 kW*h of heat for a given trip. With just a fuel-fired heater, as you suggest, you’d provide those 10 kW*h as fuel, and 20 kW*h as electricity. If the latter came from natural gas, nuclear, coal or solar thermal plants, it required roughly 60 kW*h of input heat there. Total energy used: 70 kW*h. Instead of a dumb heater, let’s use a small engine onboard to produce both electricity (or forward motion) and (not-so)-waste heat. You now need about 15 kW*h worth of fuel to get those 10 kW*h of heat, but also 5 kW*h of electricity. Only 15 kW*h come from a power plant, ie 45 kW*h at its input. Total: 60 kW*h. Even if you consider the heater’s efficiency to be 100%, the generator/heater beats it; in this example, it’d be 117%. Plus, it extends range and lessens battery wear and charging/discharging losses. How practical or cost-effective… Read more »

Except if you use a condensing boiler, then the efficiency is pretty high (95-98%). In this case the boiler is a bit of a misnomer, since the thing depends on cool return temperature water that may be heated below the condensing temperature of the fuel you’re using. In the natural gas case I believe its around 125 deg Fahrenheit, so practically the return water temperature from the heaters on the bus must be kept to 115 tops. So the slight downside of that is either the heaters must be kept a bit starved, or if it is REALLY Cold outside and you need the heat, you’ll need some fan kwh to get ALL the heat out of the water.

Fuel cells will do the job just fine.
They are being introduced right now for buses as RE’s:

One of many trials, as the technology has matured enough for the application.

Here they are in trucks:

Their advantages in this application are that they remain zero pollution at point of use just like the batteries, and can not only provide heating for the vehicle and conditioning for the battery so as to reduce cold weather range loss, but can also generate electricity and so operate as an RE, which can in cold weather as much as double range.

Proton is second to none in their enthusiasm for batteries, and their zeal in putting them into service.

They still don’t turn up their nose at fuel cells though, and don’t hesitate to take advantage of their superb characteristics to supplement batteries.

Here is the cold weather performance of the first few Toyota FCEVs on trial during the recent cold snap:

Unfortunately, all that heat goes to waste in the other 3 seasons unless they have a superpricey adsorption air conditioning system, both in terms of cost, auxiliaries efficiency, and weight.

IO, You’re obviously not familiar with off the shelf products. WM has over 95% efficient condensing boilers, and Bosch’s units are much better than that! And thats if you don’t use what little waste heat there is to run it buy the batteries. Tell the “GREEN CITIES” group that you’re going to buy the propane models, and they’d be overjoyed, not because its an (almost) all electric bus but that sometimes it uses propane.

Also, you’ve also never been in a bus in a cold climate. 10kwh of heating over a 10 hour time frame means you have a 1000 watt heater or exactly 3,413 BTU/hour of heat. Ten times that wouldn’t be nearly enough for a big bus full of glass area 6,000 watts is barely sufficient for my VOLT.

Bill, you misunderstood what I was saying. Like you, I was disagreeing with Anderlan’s claim that fuel-fired heaters were 100% efficient, although for different reasons.

I was pointing out that using an engine instead, so that fuel first gets to produce something valuable such as electricity, and only then heat up the space with its waste heat, would result in less fuel used in power plants, and therefore result in less energy use overall than even a 100% efficient heater.

You underline that condensing heaters routinely get 90%+. This only complement, not invalidate, my point.

Also, the energy figures I used in my example were in response to Anderlan, who was talking about a heater for a regular car, not a bus; I think that they are in the right ballpark for a 1~2h drive in cold conditions.
Note that the same conclusion would apply for longer drives and/or larger vehicles.

Yup, if the only fossil fuel they use is to heat the bus for the passengers on very cold days, I think they’ve made an excellent trade off.

Far better than ABB’s vision of practically an entire electric substation at each Bus Stop!

60 kw for a bus company is nothing. And since charging is done at night, both the rates are dirt cheap, and the existing service for the bus garage may be used.

Of course, they’ll probably need an enlargement when they decide to switch ALL their busses to BYD.

And there is no problem using biofuels instead of fossil fuels in that heater also.