The Long Beach Transit (LBT) board of directors has awarded a contract worth over $11 million to Los Angeles-based BYD Motors Inc. to provide 10 battery electric buses and supporting charging systems.
The Long Beach, Calif.-based transit agency issued a request for proposals in September 2014, and LBT says BYD's response was deemed most responsive and responsible and met the requirements outlined in the request. The majority of the funding comes from a federal grant.
LBT notes BYD Motors offered a 12-year warranty on major components of the propulsion system, including the battery. As the agency explains, 12 years is considered the useful life of a public transit bus and is the minimum time the Federal Transit Administration expects a transit agency to maintain a bus.
LBT plans to operate these initial battery electric buses on the Passport route in downtown Long Beach starting in fall 2016. Expansion will be considered in the future, as the transit agency has an option to purchase 14 more of the electric buses at a later date with board approval.
“The Long Beach Transit board made a historic decision … that will not only benefit our customers, but will also be a win for our community. Our new battery electric buses will be zero-emission. This is the cleanest bus we have offered to date, and it's the leading edge of technology in the industry,” comments LBT CEO Kenneth McDonald. “We are happy to be working with BYD Motors to bring our most eco-friendly transit vehicle option to Long Beach.”
According to LBT spokesperson Kevin Lee, alternative fuel vehicles, mainly compressed natural gas and some hybrid buses, currently make up over two-thirds of the transit agency's fleet.
“In the next 10 years,” adds Lee, “LBT plans on being at least 90 percent alternatively fueled and comprised mostly of no- to low-emission buses.”