BYD has once again scored a major order, and the Colombian capital of Bogota is about to possess the largest electric bus fleet in the Americas. The first 120 buses are already set to begin service. The town will have a complete, 470-strong battery electric bus fleet in 1Q21, serving upwards of 300,000 passengers.
Speaking of EVs, most people will think of Tesla, Porsche, or the myriad new models under development by various automakers. These models come with their fair share of unique looks, “smart” equipment, and even controversies. However, if you’re a close follower of EV trends and industries, then the global influence of BYD is not to be missed.
China-based automaker BYD has performed quite well in terms of passenger EVs; it is also the undisputed global leader in terms of electric buses.
BYD’s latest order comes from the Colombian capital of Bogota. The Central American city placed an order for 470 battery electric buses, the first 120 of which were delivered in December 2020 and put to service already. The other 350 vehicles will be successively delivered within the following three months. By then, Bogota will possess the one of the largest electric bus fleets in the Americas.
These electric buses will be routed throughout 40 routes, serving a total of 300,000 commuters. The fleet includes two separate models, K9 and K7, which are 12 meters and 8 meters long and carry up to 80 and 50 passengers, respectively. These buses have a driving range of about 300 km, which is way more than sufficient given their average daily driving distance of about 260 km in cities.
Bogota now contains a large quick-charge station capable of simultaneously charging 112 buses at the same time at a maximum power of 150 kW. Three other similarly spec’ed stations are about to become operational. Be it rest time for drivers or nighttime, when buses aren’t in operation, electric buses can be charged at all times of the day.
The other major town of electric buses in South America is the Chilean city of Santiago. BYD shipped 150 battery electric buses in Chile in 2020. As of the end of 2020, there were about 800 battery electric buses in Santiago, about half of which are BYDs.
In comparison, the electrification of buses is relatively slow-going in North America. After the rapid surge of BYD buses in South America in 2020, the continent now contains more electric buses than does North America. Of this, needless to say, BYD is the winner.
In addition to South America, China, Europe, Korea, and Japan are all places where BYD has sold its electric buses. In practically all these aforementioned markets, BYD has the pole position. Even in a place like Taiwan, one finds BYD electric buses.
If the main driver of EV popularity is an improvement of air quality, then it only makes sense to start with buses and trucks. Not only is it relatively easy to solve the problem of charging buses, they’re also quite easy to maintain, making their electrification extremely cost-effective. More importantly, these large vehicles’ carbon emissions are extremely problematic (especially in places like Taipei, where the myriad of fossil fuel buses are called “squids” for the dark clouds they exhaust). Should an accelerated effort at electrification be made, it will be vastly helpful for the improvement of air quality. Perhaps motorcycles should be next.