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BYD unveils battery-electric over-the-road coach bus; two more models to launch this year

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The C9. Click to enlarge.

BYD Motors Inc. unveiled the first long range, 100% battery-electric over-the-road coach bus (as opposed to a city transit bus) at the United Motorcoach Association Expo in New Orleans. This first electric coach—the BYD C9—is a two-axle, 40' coach with the seating capacity to carry 47 people at highway speed for more than 190 miles.

The BYD C9 is the first of three battery-electric coaches the company will launch globally this year. The other two, a 45' three-axle coach named the C10 and a 23' coach with executive and transport configurations named the C6 will be arriving by the end of 2015. BYD is taking orders for all three of the coaches starting now.

The C9 uses BYD’s in-wheel drive axle with two 180 kW brushless AC synchronous motors (BYD-TYC180A), each of which develops 1,500 N·m (1,106 lb-ft) of torque. The 365 kWh Li-ion iron phosphate battery pack can accept 200 kW charging for a charging time of less than two hours. Top speed of the bus is 62.5 mph (101 km/h).

BYD projects the battery capacity will remain above 80% after 12 years of use. The BYD Intelligent Battery Management System (iBMS) assists with balancing and charging safety.

The C10 supports up to 58 seats, and also has a range of more than 190 miles. The drive axle is the same BYD in-wheel drive rear axle with 180 kW machines, but the battery pack is slightly larger: 394.2 kWh. Using a triple charging scheme (300 kW from 100 kW x 3 at 480 VAC), the C10 can recharge in 1.3 hours.

The C6 supports up to 21 seats, has a top speed of 77.7 mph (125 km/h) and has a range of more than 124 miles (200 km). It uses a single longitudinally mounted 180 kW electric machine, powered by a 152 kWh battery pack. With 100 kW charging, recharging time is from 1.5 to 2 hours.

Comments

Bob Wallace

Hope they designed this bus for battery swapping. 190 mile range and swappable batteries would mean game over for diesel buses.

I've been in Sri Lanka for the last couple of weeks. Electric buses would make such a quality of life improvement here, replacing the roaring, screeching diesel fleet.

And they need electric tuks-tuks as well. (But they say took-tooks.)

CheeseEater88

Okay, so if this bus reaches its destination.... what then? Charge on a public high-speed charger? it needs to get back....394kWh is a lot.

62.5 mph is hardly fast enough for most highways in the US, if they could gear it and get up to 75-80mph they'd have enough for almost any highway

My biggest hope for the project is that they save enough fuel over the life of the bus to displace the cost of the battery, its easily over $100K,
fill ups should be around $50, so there is hope. Maybe around 200K miles they'll hit cost parity... its fairly low all things considered , especially since these are work buses... Hopefully they can get a million miles on them in 15 years or less. Maybe they could lease a supercharger from tesla.

HarveyD

Split charging (3x to 6x) may be a common sense technique for very large (over 300 kWh) battery packs to reduce charging time to under 30 minutes.

Alternatively, an on board FC could extend range by 2x to 3x or xo?

Herman

"190 mile range and swappable batteries would mean game over for diesel buses."

Care to show your work on that assertion? 190mi range at substandard cruise speed is a non-starter. I drove back and forth from Pudong to Nantong last week and by simple observation I can confirm that a 300km range, 100km/hr top speed (ergo cruse much lower) coach bus just won't cut it in China, much less in any state in the US.

And we haven't gotten to HVAC or true cost of ownership yet...

This is another of BYDs toys targeted for purchase by government agencies.

electric-car-insider.com


Typical bus gets 5-6 mpg. 200k gallons. At $3.50 gallon (probably too low over 10 years) that's $700,000 in fuel costs. Electricity would be ~ $175k, $525k savings.
Oil changes on a commercial bus are about $200 each every 6,00 miles. $33,000 savings over 1m miles.

Engine overhaul savings likely to be substantial. TBO on a typical industrial electric motor is ~100,000 hours, 6m miles. Electric motor overhaul can be as simple as changing roller bearings.

On a heavily trafficked 100 mile people mover route, e.g. from Tijuana to LA, this could change the game entirely, even with charge infrastructure install at the terminals.

HarveyD

Let's not forget that range is currently limited by first generation type batteries.

Post 2020 batteries with 2X to 4X effective capacity would give this e-bus 400 to 800 Km range at 110+ Km?

Charging during lunch time at end of day trip will not be a real problem.

ai_vin

I am reminded of another BEV bus, the Superbus; http://www.superbusproject.com/

The Superbus is designed for the autobahns of europe so it has a 250 km/h cruising speed, and a 210 km range plus battery exchange.

CheeseEater88

ECI, I think you're right on it being best for a fixed route.
An hour gives the company to switch drivers/clean/maintain. They could have busses on the road every hour and a half... If they could get the usage up there the better/faster the pay offs.

If they ever get to 2nd...3rd... or Nth generation batteries, and over 880 mile range highway with load and cold, they could do some actual change to the over the road trucking. Though, that would be around a 1,852kwH battery... Again, it could be profitable, if the tractor/bus was used daily, with as much up time as possible.
But an over the road application might not seem like a good investment until over a million miles on the odometer. (With some cheap batteries $250/kwh)... if batteries can get around $100/kwh yeah, its pretty much kiss ICE good bye on every level. Trucks would only have to get to around 500K miles before making a return on their investment.

SJC

After 150 miles you get onto a charged bus.
A 100 kW fuel cell with M100 reforming would solve the problem.

electric-car-insider.com

Methanol reformers don't have very good energy density, which is why they are not used in mobile applications right now. I would love to see it though.

SJC

Ten gallons will get a car 400 mile range at $1 per gallon, if you don't like that continue past methanol to DME to diesel and get more range. Synthetic diesel has no sulfur so it is easy to reform.

electric-car-insider.com

I could be very interested in / supportive of methanol or any clean burning, CO2 neutral liquid fuel that is reasonably easy to handle. Especially those that could use existing pipelines and pumps. But on a vehicle, there are no practical solutions today, or on the near term horizon, unless you know about a new breakthrough.

I believe that breakthrough may be made. It is worth making. But the reason we see only stationary applications is because the energy density just isn't there.

If my information is out of date, I'd be quite interested in reading about any new real-world, financially viable solutions for transportation.

SJC

Some people say methanol is toxic, but it is biodegradable because it exists in nature. Methanol leaking from a fuel station tank is no problem, unlike gasoline.

Thomas Pedersen

With limited production capacity and having cornered the market, I'm sure they will have plenty of <150 mile point-to-point routes they can sell to. The dark horse is charging infrastructure. One also has to factor in the opportunity cost of the charging time. In optimal service the bus is only earning revenue 60% of the time with 3 hours driving, two hours charging.

If they are serious about selling battery buses for long distances at >60 mph they should look at sacrificing 1-2 seats in the bus for improved aerodynamics (tapering at the rear). While quite aerodynamic by coach standard (no sharp corners or protrusions) it is still quite box-shaped (bread-shaped, I guess).

Wheel covers for the rear wheels also seems like a no-brainer. With motor-regen there is no heat to disperse from the rear wheels.

Herman

In extensive, instrumented testing by Penn State, the Proterra B35 Bus could manage about 1.4 kWh/mi in a level 40mph commute cycle. This with no HVAC running in a smaller, much lighter 34 passenger urban bus. Does it make sense that the much heavier BYD 47-psgr Coach can sustain even a reasonable highway cruise and attain roughly 2kWh/mi with any sort of HVAC? Probably not. Add in even gentle hills, wind, and heating on a 55mph route and the bus couldn't come close to 190mi.

But that's not the point.

If you have worked in the Coach bus industry (at least in the US) you need route flexibility. The companies I as involved with had a vibrant route structure around the N. Illinois and S. Wisconsin areas, running to the Chicago area airports and major city stops in a 100mi+ radius. Seems very regular, yes? But it isn't. Not only do routes have huge variations (e.g., holiday crush at ORD), requiring route service overlaps and schedule flexibility, but busses sometimes break down, I-90 gets closed for serious accidents, etc. A realistic 120-150mi range in challenging conditions won't cut it. Plus there are income opportunities in chartered runs for everything from school trips to sporting events to retiree jaunts to the Mall of America. There is little value in an inflexible bus irrevocably tied to charging infrastructure.

I don't claim to be experienced in the field, but among my failed enterprises was an energy saving solution aimed at the van Hool Coaches (a very popular brand) during the $4.50/gal (and up) diesel fuel crisis. My little team made a prototype of an "APU" module with a small diesel engine driving a generator, and heat exchangers to keep the main engine warm and provide heat to the cab. We optionally offered a high-performance LiFePO battery pack and a concept to integrate a drive motor to allow the bus to putter around in transfer stations or at curbside, all of this to take hundreds of idling hours a year out of operation. I'll admit the e-drive option was a dream and while the drawings looked nice we didn't really have a plan to do it, but otherwise it was all competently executed and could have been installed with little loss of cargo space. The savings were huge, with a 12-18 month payoff.

Never sold a single, solitary one. None. Very tepid interest almost everywhere, despite the fact that our numbers were vetted and supported by owner/operators.

This is not an industry likely to take even a sideways glance at eCoach transport without gigantic government assistance or coercion (or a combination).

As usual, I must close with the reminder I am an EV driver and an electrification enthusiast. But I am also a sadly prescient pragmatist.

CheeseEater88

Great points Herman, charter companies can't rely on such a close call working out all the time.

A small onboard fuel cell/reformer could give a great deal of range extension. A small 50Kw one could bring your effective range to 300 miles, a 100kw one could as far as the hydrogen/other fuel was there. The 100Kw FC would give off over 20Kw of heat, so no worries for that with the FC on board. But again, these FC generators would be running the whole time to get those numbers.

Thomas, the reason why they will never cover the wheels on most cars/trucks is because of hazards on the roads and blow outs. Also, regenerating brakes only do so much, even if this thing is >90% efficient while using the regen braking... the amount the generator/motor can pull in is still limited by several factors. If the bus ever had to go into an emergency stop for what ever reason that is a lot of kinetic energy going somewhere, and probably most/all of it will go to heat. Tires burn pretty good.

electric-car-insider.com

Always refreshing to hear a pragmatic view here, Herman and Thomas ;-)

At some point, it very well may be a regulatory requirement. Paris is headed there now. London is already there or nearly so. People are starting to figure out that Diesel is a "pay me now or pay me later" proposition, except it's really "your money or my life"!

I do believe there are lots of routes that these BYD buses will be used near-term. I used to fly in to San Francisco regularly and take a large limo bus from the airport to downtown where my office was. Those buses just went on a long loop, were never used for charter or any other purpose. Even with 15 minute terminal charges at each stop, the BYD could probably end the work day with its reserve charge remaining.

I've seen the same kind of loop at many other cities. Unlike passenger cars, the charging infrastructure only needs perhaps two stations per bus, at each terminal.

I have seen some estimates on these buses where the fuel cost savings covers the vehicle loan payment. If you are a commercial operator that is a very compelling proposition!

CheeseEater88

ECI it just has to do with utilization/charging... if they can put 500+ miles a day on them... payback will happen within 5-8years, if leasing, payback could happen instantly depending on the contract... but it really depends on how much they operate.

It would be very interesting to have a truck with 3MwH of battery on board... you'd basically need a private sub station to charge a few of them quickly. That would truly be long haul trucking... if Li-air gets out of the lab and into production, we could have a 700Lbs battery, hopefully it could charge fast with the massive number of cells it may take to run a truck... though you'd have about 10 hours to charge before running again. 300kw/h could do it for a charge rate, although, 600 would be better.

But yeah, I am pretty sure hydrogen/ICE PHEV will be king for vehicles over 5000 lbs curb weight for the next 20 years (not on a fixed route.)

electric-car-insider.com

Totally agree CE88. I see stationary storage completely solving the "private substation" problem. Even if demand charges were not an issue (could be solved by tariff, but probably won't be anytime soon) the peak/off-peak arbitrage means it's a fait accompli as soon as batteries hit the right numbers. What an amazing opportunity. So many viable contenders, it's sure to be solved many times over in the next 5-10 years. So many applications, it's just staggering.

Thomas Pedersen

GCC is mainly an American website and most posters here have a US-based outlook, which differs from many other regions in:

- Extremely cost conscious
- No strong tradition for public transport
- No strong tradition for public (municipal/government) investment in said public transport
- Long distances
- High average speed across the land

All of the factors above can be inverted in other regions. And there are plenty of those where BYD can sell as many coaches as they can make, methinks, even if they do not sell a single bus in the US.

In many European cities, municipals spend quite a lot to de-carbonize public transport. The public expects elected officials to drive progress by testing out these new technological solutions.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/12/20141219-volvo.html

And in Asia with extremely high population density, public transport is vital. Furthermore, traveling within a radius of 150 miles will put you in reach of 30 million people in many cases (Tokyo, Shanhai, Beijing, etc.).

In the US, higher capacity is required to be relevant. Also, faster charging is required. The Busbaar used by Volvo already charges at 650 kW, so what is the hold-up? Cutting charging time from 120 to 40 minutes increases driving time from 60 to 80% of the time, which matters a lot for the economics.

Engineer-Poet

I think the perception of the charging problem is bigger than reality.  There are a lot of 7200 V and 13.2 kV distribution lines out there, and these buses are more than big enough to carry their own transformers.  Park next to a line, extend a boom to the overhead wires, et voila:  charging wherever you and power cross paths.  Pulling 7200 volts at 10 amps is 72 kW, enough for a full charge in a few hours of a layover even at a relatively random stopping point.

For fixed routes, no problem:  a few minutes of charging at the endpoints should keep the bus going all day.

HarveyD

Local distribution lines are mostly 7.2, 12.5, 25,0 or 34.5 KV in USA and 11.0 and 33 KV in UK and many ex
British colonies. We use 12.5 and 25.0 KV.

Modern e-trains use 25.0 KV

It shouldn't be too difficult to connect to local 25 KV lines to charge e-buses. Transformers and AC/DC converters are not very expensive.

Spliting the battery bank 3 ways (during charging) could make use of existing 240 KW chargers.

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