China's biggest electrified vehicle maker BYD has unveiled a new all-electric Type A school bus in the United States.
Offering vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which allows the vehicle to serve as a power storage resource when it’s not transporting students, the BYD Type A can seat up to 30 students, slotting beneath the 84-seat Type D bus unveiled last year.
The battery-powered bus is available in three different lengths—26.7 feet (8.1 meters), 24.5 feet (7.45 meters) and 22.9 feet (7 meters)—making it suitable for routes with fewer students.
As with the Type D vehicle, the Type A can be equipped with an ADA liftgate capable of lifting 800 pounds (362 kg), allowing it to transport students with disabilities.
Compared to the larger Type D bus, the driving range is slightly smaller, though: 140 miles (225 km) on a single charge versus 155 miles (250 km). BYD did not reveal the capacity of the lithium iron phosphate battery that it calls "the safest and most reliable in the electric vehicle industry."
Gallery: BYD Type A electric school bus for North America
According to the company, the Type A bus can cut fuel costs by as much as 60% compared to diesel vehicles, while maintenance costs can be cut by as much as 60% since a battery-electric bus has fewer moving parts and less vibration.
BYD offers customers two types of charging solutions to meet different needs: 150 kW DC fast charging for high charging power and efficiency and 19.2 kW single phase AC charging. Speaking of charging, the Type A's vehicle-to-grid charging capability is clearly one of its highlights.
"Just like our Type D bus introduced last year, our Type A bus bi-directional charging capability is a game changer. 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."
Samuel Kang, BYD’s Head of Total Technology Solutions
BYD also says safety was the top priority when designing the entry-level school bus, with standard features including a high-strength steel construction body, electronic stability control, and an electronic braking system to ensure more evenly distributed brake force.
In addition, the BYD Type A is fitted with Predictive Stop Arm, which monitors approaching traffic and notifies students as they exit the bus when it is safe to cross.