This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
With any electric vehicle, the key to success is the ability to drive long distances between charging sessions.
For all-electric buses that's even more important because a long stop to charge the battery isn't an option with a bus full of passengers.
Chinese automobile manufacturer BYD says its all-electric bus has demonstrated an impressive range during a trial run in Copenhagen, Denmark.
City-Trafik, the second-largest bus operator in Denmark, showed that the bus could travel much
farther than its estimated range of 155 miles on a full charge. According to Autoblog, the all-electric bus was able to complete its normal service on a typical route, carrying an average of 40 passengers while driving 68.4 miles. After completing its normal service run, the bus took to a highway and added another 133.6 miles. At the end of the day the bus traveled 202 miles, powered only by electricity, and it still had eight percent of its battery charge remaining.
Another trial conducted by Arriva, the largest bus operator in Denmark, showed the all-electric bus could complete a full day of operation (93 miles) with the heating system running the entire time, do another 56 miles on the highway and still have eight percent charge left in the battery.
The electric bus is selling well in China. Earlier this month, BYD received a huge order of 1,800 electric buses, with 1,200 going to Dalian, in northeast China, and 600 to Nanjing, in eastern China.
While BYD's electric bus has an impressive range, the rest of the world has been slower to incorporate the buses into its fleet. BYD's largest contract in Europe is for 35 buses in Amsterdam. London also has on a trial basis.
New York has also been running a successful trial. But what could hold back BYD from expanding in the United States could have nothing to do with its electric-powered motor. Last year, Long Beach Transit awarded BYD a $12.1 million contract for 10 of the electric buses.
Since then, BYD has been criticized for its labor practices, fined by the California labor department, and the city is considering canceling the contract. For a detailed timeline of the entire controversy, check out the Press-Telegram's coverage. This fiasco could mean other cities think twice before they get involved with BYD, even if it would lead to cleaner cities.
Photo: Flickr/Xavier Trias
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