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2018-05-25. BYD’s Electric Bus Woes Threaten to Tarnish the Broader Industry.

posted May 27, 2018, 6:55 PM by Alan Gould
By Julian Spector, Green Tech Media. For GSS Energy Use chapter 9. Excerpt: ...Recent news complicates the rosy narrative that electric buses are sailing to total domination of the public transit segment. ...Los Angeles Times...Journalist Paige St. John uncovered extensive problems with L.A. Metro’s efforts to deploy electric buses from BYD, a massive Chinese firm with a factory in Lancaster, California. ...The story reports BYD buses ran out of charge before their advertised range, wouldn’t start and had trouble climbing hills in downtown L.A. ...What remains to be seen is whether the revelations change public attitudes toward BYD itself, or electric buses in general. ...“That was an article about a company, but the headline was about a category,” Ryan Popple, CEO of electric bus maker Proterra, told GTM. “I hope that people don't paint a broad brush over the whole category.” ...In winning more public transit contracts with electric buses, Proterra, Canadian manufacturer New Flyer and BYD have pitted themselves against the incumbent diesel bus and the natural-gas bus industries.... The story raises questions about the role of political connections in L.A.'s bid evaluations for major contracts. ...The initial five BYD buses performed far below the average distance traveled by L.A.’s conventional buses, and some of them stalled getting up hills. ...All of this might give a reader the impression that electric buses as a class have trouble driving. Proterra has never told a customer to change routes in order to serve them with electric buses, Popple told GTM.... To demonstrate its vehicles' competency on steep grades, Proterra took a tour up the ski mountains surrounding Park City, Utah. The electric bus performance satisfied Park City Transit, which chose to deploy Proterra buses. ...Despite the recent news, Popple said he remains confident that electrification is the future of public transit.... https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/byds-electric-bus-woes-threaten-to-tarnish-the-broader-industry