Skagit Transit Passengers Say BYD Electric Bus Is “Unbelievable”

NOV 22 2014 BY MARK KANE 32

BYD ebus

BYD ebus

BYD positively surprised the Skagit Transit with its all-electric 40-foot bus, which operated at two of Skagit County’s busiest bus lines on a trial.

It’s quiet when stopped or “sounds like a muffled U.S.S. Enterprise entering and leaving warp while changing speed.  According to reports, the bus performed admirably so far.

Oscar Morales, during a stop on Riverside Drive along Route 208, stated:

“I’m used to it vibrating back here. I can hear! Normally it’s quite a bit noisier in the back.You can hear everything. It’s unbelievable.”

Operations Manager Troy Fair remarked:

“We really put it to the test. It moved well in traffic, kept up to speed. It was flawless.Well received by the driver as well as the public.”

BYD’s long-range bus can operate a full 12 hour shift without recharging. Joel Reikes, fleet sales manager for BYD, claimsthat the “bus drove 250 miles with 17 percent battery power to spare on a trip from Richland to Seattle“.

And here is an interesting part onprice – approximately $625,000:

“Reikes said a 33-foot BYD sells for around $625,000, while comparable diesels cost $476,000. The expected service life for each is 12 years, though O’Brien said Skagit Transit tries to keep its buses running for 15 years.”

“Engines and transmissions are rebuilt two to three times throughout a diesel’s lifespan, O’Brien said, while the cost to keep the entire 24-bus fleet fueled is roughly $125,000 per month.”

Source: Skagit Valley Herald

Categories: Bus, BYD

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32 Comments on "Skagit Transit Passengers Say BYD Electric Bus Is “Unbelievable”"

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BYD makes awesome electric buses. With that small of a price difference it looks like it’s an easy choice to make.

The extra cost should be payed back in about 4 years (depending on electricity cost and interest rates).

That’s a no brainer on a bus that you expect to be keeping for 12 years (or more).

It would be outrageous if they don’t go with the cheapest, best, most environmetally friendly and most appreciated system by both drivers and passengers.


$149,000 Extra Per BYD Bus

$5,208.33 Fuel per Bus, per Month, Average, saved.

28.6 Months to Break Even on the extra cost, on fuel Alone, not counting Electricity!

(I did not see the kWh Capacity of the bus in this article, and did not go surfing for the data, so a 48 month Payback with Electricity in, is a reasonable finding, I am sure!)

No engine rebuilds needed either.

An utter no-brainer in the Europe where diesel costs nearly twice as much!

Not when electricity is 4 times the rate as in US.

They could top off at those points where the bus typically stops for a few minutes to stay on schedule and run indefinitely!

They don’t have to but they could, yes.
250 mile range.

i have come to believe that BEVs are quite viable for city use: you don’t have to have a huge battery, just a moderate battery with quick charging capability: then you run the bus on its route and let it recharge for 15 minutes before starting the return route. that should reduce the battery size requirements. getting rid of diesel exhaust in city routes (and noise) would be great. in chicago, a couple of electric buses are being run on bus routes for evaluation. this is a good test location because it will also give insight into how practical the buses will be under winter driving conditions.

Double sized battery may cost twice as much, but it also lasts almost twice as long. Therefore long range batteries are not significantly more expensive than short range batteries.

As Bob Lutz said, we electrified the wrong end of the industry first. Imagine all buses, trucks,trolleys and even trains running electric. Reduced pollution, noise and heat would probably resolve alot of the environmental issues we are facing. Out here in Honolulu electric buses would be awesome as its a small island, and would make a huge difference in the above stated benefits. The electric rates are the highest in the nation here but they do offer a night rate much cheaper. The noise level here in Waikiki can be deafening and would soothe my almost 70 year old ears.

Trolleys and trains have been electric for a century.

But buses should be replaced as soon as possible since it’s better in every way, even economical.

So were buses when I was a kid!

DonH – ” Imagine all buses, trucks,trolleys and even trains running electric.” We didn’t have to do that (imagine) before GM ganged up on the Electric Buses many Cities had, and got them out of Cities, and even ripped up some of the Trolley Track in some cases, so they could sell them their Diesel Buses! Trains run on Overhead Gantries in Much of Europe, and the fastest ones only run on that fashion for power – not even Diesel Electric Like Most North American Trains! For Trucks – it’s on it’s way: Siemens tests eHighway system in California (Press Release:, and “Siemens powers trucks like trams with overhead wires” – What I would like to begin to see a conversation on – is Cruise Ships – having to run on Battery Power within (a Start of) 5 miles of Shore, and on Shore Power at the Doc, while they are ‘Refueling the Bunker Sea, they could also ‘refuel’ their batteries. and in one decade – to move that up to 10 miles from shore, and by 2 decades – out to 15 miles from shore! Similar to them – would be shipping Freighters. OR – the could… Read more »

Just make all the shipping freighters nuke powered. Those really huge boats are just asking for it I think. Would make it a lot cleaner all around with the added bonus of not having to refuel constantly.

Yeah, because in this day and age there are no pirates or terrorists around who would want to get their hands on some nuclear material to demand a huge ransome or to build a dirty bomb.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

LFTR is proliferation-resistant enough to make other means of fissile-material acquisition more practical for terrorists or pirates. Put in a ‘core ejection’ system that dumps the whole plant into the ocean (for later retrieval) in event of a hijack attempt.

I reckon a properly-designed LFTR power plant would be safer in a passenger plane accident than tanks of jet fuel, just make it out of the stuff you make the black box out of 😉

Expect that LFTR is a fictious reactor technology that has not been demonstrated. And the most probable reason why it is not demonstrated is simply that it does not work in real life.

For once, an Hydrogen fuel cell with a storage tank gas or liquid could be an option. No fumes, no noise, no nuke.

I keep trying to figure out if a smaller battery and a big charger are better or a big battery like Tesla and 1 charge per day is better.

I think it depends on the route.


I keep trying to figure out if a smaller battery and more chargers on the route are better or a big battery like Tesla and 1 charge per day .

I think it depends on the route (driving cycle).

Batteries are expensive, heavy and have a large carbon footprint. This is offset by the operating efficiency when compared to a fossil fuel powered vehicle. Reducing the battery capacity/range significantly reduced upfront costs (financial and environmental.) On the flip side, halving the battery capacity would require more annual charge cycles, resulting in daily down-time for charging, and will halve the lifespan of the battery. Pay now or pay later. Undersized batteries also lose efficiency when under heavy load, thus further limiting range when heavily loaded. Larger batteries offer more flexibility for routes, and apparently are still cost effective. It sounds like they have come up with a great design priced for success. I am impressed that they were able to make a long range BEV that is so competitively priced.
With all that said, smaller batteries would likely be more cost effective for low-speed urban routes.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Lots of factors, but I’d like Proterra’s configuration more if its costs were lower than BYD’s (since its battery size is so much lower). Mass is more important than aerodynamics at the speeds intracity buses run, and I reckon if Proterra has a bendy-bus configuration that could be sold as a competitor to light rail (with priority lanes and high-end stops with signage and charging) that their battery strategy could work.

But man, Proterra needs to get down to parity or less with BYD.

the reason why mass transit companies get articulated buses is to deploy them on heavy ridership routes during rush hour. the main competition in europe is double decker buses.

the issue with articulated electric buses is that they require more power: not only to move a bigger heavier bus, but to move a bus with 50% more passenger load. in colder climates, there is also a bigger load for heating the cabin. so were proterra to introduce an articulated bus, it would need a much larger battery.

i don’t know that proterra has to undercut byd pricing given the operational advantages that proterra offers: a 10 minute downtime for recharging seems quite workable for a city bus route. the 26 mile range might be a bit of a problem in colder climates during the winter, though.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

How much is the Proterra bus? $625k is pretty good given the size of battery, with a smaller battery plus quick-charge infrastructure requirements should mean the Proterra costs less?

According to this article, 4 Proterra buses with QC equipment ran $4.6 million, or $1.15 million each!
BYD has done an amazing job with buses.

Long range batteries are cheaper than fast charging infrastructure.

The story doesn’t mention the state the county is located. I have no idea where this is happening.

@ John Hollenberg

Skagit County is in western Washington about 75 miles north of Seattle. Population is about 200,000. Located not too far from Canada, maybe 75-100 miles or so, or about halfway between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C.

John – it seems to be written in a bit of a local awareness style, meaning locals know what the locations referred to are meaning. I am not local to that are anymore, as I live in Ontario, Canada, but I am originally from BC and often traveled to those named areas.

First – the comment in the story: – “bus drove 250 miles with 17 percent battery power to spare on a trip from Richland to Seattle“.
Google Maps ‘Richland to Seattle’ = – Google Says 202 miles, but that’s OK!

Next – they state the company name:
Skagit Transit -> -> ->
Burlington, WA 98233 or Mount Vernon, WA. 98273

Near the first inset text block – “Oscar Morales, during a stop on Riverside Drive along Route 208” -> Note ‘Riverside Drive’ on this route map –

On this route Map – I see – Mt. Vernon at the bottom – so adding that to my Google Map = (Now that trip = 264 Miles) and if you zoom in, you can then also see, just North of Mt. Vernon, WA -> Burlington, WA.

Hope that helps!


interesting to see that BYD seems to be pushing the price of their batteries down. If you go by the price difference between this and a diesel bus, then divide by 324, their battery price has dropped to 460. Unfortunately for them, they’re 20 times capacity away from reaching Tesla’s current 240, but there are suspicions that’s essentially chimerical anyways.