BYD introduces unique-looking electric school bus for the US with vehicle-to-grid capabilities

Chinese mobility manufacturer BYD has introduced its new “Type A” electric school bus to transport up to thirty American students at a time. Plus, the new zero-emission bus is ADA compliant up to 800 lbs and can travel 140 miles on a single charge. However, what may be most appealing to school districts are the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities that BYD’s Type A school bus will provide.

BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams”, a motto that the Chinese automaker has followed since 1995, when it was founded. BYD Auto, the subsidiary of BYD Co. Ltd. will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, as it is one of the largest automakers in China. In 2021, BYD produced over 320,000 BEVs, second in the country only to SAIC.

In addition to making unique “blade” EV batteries, BYD Auto develops and manufactures electric cars, buses, trucks, bicycles and even forklifts – under its own name as well as for other OEMs like Toyota.

BYD also previously announced collaborations with companies like Nuuve and Levo to further integrate V2G technologies into its commercial fleets of electric vehicles, including buses.

Last June, we covered BYD’s entry into the US school system with the launch of its Type D electric bus, featuring two-way charging capabilities. The Type D bus is available in lengths of 35, 38 and 40 feet and can carry up to 84 passengers, traveling 155 miles on a single charge. At the time, BYD North America President Stella Li spoke:

We raise the bar for design, innovation, range and quality, giving parents peace of mind knowing their children are enjoying the safest school bus in the world. At the same time, our buses will provide operators with the performance and cost savings that will make the migration to zero-emissions technology affordable and practical.

With its latest announcement, BYD announced a new, smaller electric bus that will soon provide safe transportation (and electricity) to American schools.

BYD’s all-electric Type D school bus / Source: BYD Auto

BYD’s new electric bus can support schools 24/7

BYD’s Type A electric school bus was recently announced via a press release, along with other specifications. It is available in shorter length options than the aforementioned Type D bus – 26.7ft, 24.5ft and 22.9ft, ideal for routes with fewer students (up to 30) and People with Disabilities.

The Type A bus is powered by a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which can be recharged at two different speeds. This includes 150kW DC fast charging as well as 19.2kW single-phase AC charging.

According to BYD, its battery-powered buses can reduce schools’ fuel costs by up to 60% compared to diesel vehicles and maintenance costs by up to 60%. Samuel Kang, BYD’s Total Technology Solutions Manager, spoke about the new electric school bus:

Just like our Type D bus introduced last year, our Type A bus bi-directional charging capability is a game changer. School buses can be recharged overnight when energy demand is low, and clean, emission-free energy can be fed back into the classroom during school hours when the bus is parked keeping classrooms well-lit classrooms and connected students and teachers.

It’s not yet clear when we might see the new Type A bus in service in US schools.

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