Last month, the Los Angeles Times had a chance to try the latest 60-foot articulated electric bus - the BYD Lancaster.
The vehicle was tested on the Metro Orange Line - 18 miles each way.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) already ordered 25 units of a shorter 40-foot electric bus from BYD, so the demonstration of the longer, articulated bus was important for the Chinese company.
With capacity for 120 passengers and more than 170 miles of range, BYD Lancaster is ready for the job. However, as it turns out on the Orange Line, buses are needed with 250-300 miles of range a day. BYD probably will need to look or other lines or schedule for fast charging in the middle of the day. Everything else seems to be positive.
"Gary Spivack, division transportation manager for Metro, said the testing of the articulated electric bus was positive; operators enjoyed driving the bus based on the smooth ride and quiet inside, and passengers enjoyed being in the bus, he said.
"It was a successful test," Spivack said. "It's striking in terms of its appearance."
He said Metro hasn't made up its mind about ordering the 60-foot bus, saying range is a paramount issue when it comes to any electric bus.
"We need something that goes 250 miles a day," Spivack said."
According to the article, a BYD Lancaster costs around $1.2 million, while comparable natural-gas articulated buses sell for $800,000. The difference is paid-off by lower running costs on electricity.
BYD plans to demonstrate Lancaster in other cities and send its new bus for Altoona tests.