COPENHAGEN, Denmark – BYD continues to have good news to share about its electric buses. Besides the huge orders (1,200 units) in Dalian, China and 30-hour run times in New York City, the company also announces recently that an e-bus has managed to drive over 200 miles on a single charge in Copenhagen, Denmark, reported autoblog.com.
The official number was 325 kilometers, and the bus managed it with eight percent of the charge in the battery pack remaining. The bus was in real-world use by City-Trafik and went on a 133.6-mile highway route after running the Route 12 path (68.4 miles) where it carried an average of 40 passengers. This beats the previous record of 310 km (192 miles) and is well beyond the official stated range of 155 miles, said the report.
There has been some bad news about BYD’s electric buses, too, including questions over wage issues and structural integrity. The U.S. feds are investigating the wage issue.
The Warren Buffet-backed automaker is also at risk of losing a $12.1 million contract to make ten electric buses for the city of Long Beach, a deal it had hoped would boost its U.S. operations, according to a report on forbes.com. The contract relies on a $9.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, which found that BYD–10 percent owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway –was ineligible to bid in the first place before Long Beach Transit authorities gave the automaker the contract in March 2013. In a letter to Long Beach Transit, the FTA claimed the Shenzhen-based company was out of compliance with the government’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which levels the playing field for minority- and women-owned companies to participate in businesses that receive federal grants, at the time of bidding. “As required, LBT has given BYD a period in which they may attempt to cure,” said Long Beach Transit spokesman Kevin Lee, who declined to comment further.
BYD attorney Lanny Davis told the Long Beach Press-Telegram the company is in discussion with the local transit agency to rebid the project a second time and is “100 percent confident” that it will win again, as it did last March. The FTA warned Long Beach Transit that it must either cancel the contract with BYD and start the bidding process over, or keep the current deal in place and lose the federal grant, the report said.
But if the contract does reopen for new bidding, South Carolina-based Proterra could take BYD’s place.
BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” has won contracts to manufacture up to 25 all-electric buses with the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority and two buses with the Antelope Valley Transit Authority. Its North American headquarters in Los Angeles was established in 2011.
The company previously faced problems in 2013 when it was fined $100,000 for alleged violations of California’s minimum wage laws, though the charges were later dropped when BYD officials showed that workers were actually paid more than the state minimum.
BYD company supplies rechargeable batteries to Samsung, Motorola, Nokia and Huawei, among others. Chairman Wang Chuanfu ranked #345 on the 2014 Forbes Billionaires List with wealth of $4.3 billion.