BYD Debuts 15-Meter Pure Electric Bus in Brazil

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Electric bus manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd, which makes pure electric buses in sizes big and small, has debuted its biggest one yet, a 15-meter bus now in service in São Paulo, Brazil.

The bus, model K10A, is a public transit bus designed for urban settings, and has its batteries stored in the floor of the vehicle.

In addition to the K10A, BYD makes a wide range of pure electric transit buses, including the K7 (8 meters), the K9 (12 meters) and the K11 (18 meters).

According to BYD, the K10A carries up to 95 passengers, has five doors and also relies on the proprietary technology of the BYD Iron-Phosphate Battery, a fire-safe, long-cycle and extended lifetime battery which is totally clean and recyclable. The battery pack enables the K10A to achieve a driving range of around 265 km on a single charge, making the bus capable of covering most of the public transportation routes in Brazil.

The batteries feature a 6,000-cycle lifespan and guarantee of over 15 years of operation. Just like the other BYD buses in Brazil, the K10A features regenerative braking and highly efficient in-wheel motors, making it possible for the bus floor to be lower, greatly simplifying maintenance and significantly reducing operational costs.

São Paulo already has a BYD K9 bus run by Ambiental transport operators.

Berkshire and BYD

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential and purchased 225 million shares, and today owns roughly 9.1% of the company.

At the time, Warren Buffett said: “”We are thrilled to be partners with BYD and the people of China. Mr. Wang Chuanfu has an extraordinary managerial record, and we welcome the opportunity to work with him.”

The move has certainly worked out well for Berkshire, as BYD’s electric buses have been hot sellers not only in China, but around the world.

In September 2015, BYD scored a massive order in the U. S. from the state of Washington. BYD won a contract from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for up to 800 pure electric buses.

BYD’s electric car business is booming as well, and it is now the number one seller of electric cars worldwide with 11% of the market share.

Berkshire’s stake in BYD is worth roughly $12.3 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.