BYD Wins Bid to Bring Pure Electric Buses to Cape Town, South Africa

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BYD Company – the Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer – will supply a fleet of 11 battery electric buses to the city of Cape Town, South Africa.

The City of Cape Town has awarded the tender for the procurement of
battery-powered electric buses and ancillary equipment for the MyCiTi
service to BYD SA Company.

Cape Town aims to become the first city on the African continent to
use electric buses for public transport. The city’s transport
administration will initially use the easy access 12-metre-long buses
as an express service on a 35 to 40-kilometre route between the city’s
central business district and the Metro South East region.

The administration plans to subsequently reassign the buses to Cape
Town’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system following completion of
supporting infrastructure.

“Electric buses generate less noise than those with traditional diesel
engines and provide a smoother ride for passengers and bus drivers,”
said AD Huang, General Manager of BYD Middle East and Africa Auto
Sales Division. “These clean-running buses will help provide Cape
Town’s residents with a more sustainable public transport system while
assisting the country in achieving its environmental ideals.”

Huang added, “Cape Town’s deployment of electric buses is the first
showcase of a clean and sustainable transport system in Africa, the
success of this project will encourage other African cities to develop
their own green public transport projects.”

Cape Town aims to reduce carbon emissions through a range of policies
that affect households, businesses, the city’s transport system and
electricity generation. Its “Energy 2040 Strategy” outlines a plan to
increase transport efficiency so that carbon emissions targets are
reduced by 3.2 percent by 2020. Transport accounts for 34 percent of
carbon output in this city of 3.8 million people.

“BYD could potentially supply five more single deck electric buses and
five additional double decker electric buses, depending on the city
government’s approval,” AD Huang said. “We look forward to continuing
our contribution to the development of South Africa’s renewable energy
scene.”

BYD’s battery electric bus employs many advanced technologies
developed in-house by a staff of more than 16,000 R&D engineers,
including the BYD iron-phosphate battery that can sustain more than
80% of capacity even after 4,000 cycles. Combined with BYD’s
proprietary in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking system, the
BYD “ebus” offers the lowest life cycle cost of ownership compared to
conventional diesel buses.

The BYD ebus delivers a host of operational and environmental benefits
for public transit riders, bus operators and residents of the
community, including a quiet and comfortable ride without vibrations,
jerks, or the noise associated with the conventional buses and
combustion engines. The bus can also drive for more than 250
kilometers – even in heavy city traffic – on a single charge.

As of July 2016, BYD bus fleets have completed more than 191 million
kilometers “in revenue service” and have been evaluated by more than
170 cities in 38 countries and regions around the world. To date, BYD
has built over 10,000 electric buses globally.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 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.