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Electric Bus Fleet Brings Chinese Manufacturing To America

Public transit vehicles may be the key to China’s success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It’s an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.

At BYD’s North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver’s seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.

Unlike a grumbling diesel engine, this electric bus is quiet. Holtz walks out to the rear of the vehicle and opens the back hatch to reveal its electric components.

“Because it’s non-internal combustion, you don’t have the moving parts,” says Holtz. “You don’t have the belts, you don’t have the soot, you don’t have all the oil. It’s a lot cleaner.”

This bus can run up to 155 miles on a single charge. It’s equipped with huge battery packs located inside the bus columns, behind the rear wheels and mounted on top of the bus.

“It takes about five hours to fully charge our bus from zero state of charge to 100 percent,” says Holtz.

BYD already has buses running at Denver International Airport and Disneyworld in Orlando. Fla. Just last month, Los Angeles Metro purchased five buses and nearby Long Beach Transit bought 10.
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