Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD Co., Ltd. has unveiled its BYD Type A electric school bus. The bus offers innovative vehicle-to-grid technology, allowing the vehicle to serve as a power storage resource when it’s not transporting students. The Type A can seat up to 30, and can be equipped with an ADA liftgate capable of lifting 800 pounds. The bus has a range of up to 140 miles on a single charge.
“This is a timely solution: BYD’s Type A battery electric school bus is designed to be there for school districts 24 hours a day, both as a vehicle and power storage resource, said Stella Li, President of BYD North America. “The BYD combination of top-notch safety features, innovative design and reliable performance makes this a practical and highly affordable zero-emission solution.”
BYD made safety the top priority in its school bus design. Standard safety features include a high strength steel construction body, electronic stability control to aid handling, and an electronic braking system to ensure more evenly distributed brake force.
At the heart of the BYD Type A is its lithium iron phosphate battery, the safest and most reliable in the electric vehicle industry.
In addition, BYD adds an additional layer of protection with its Predictive Stop Arm™, which monitors approaching traffic and notifies students as they exit the bus when it is safe to cross.
With length options of 26.7-feet, 24.5-feet and 22.9 feet, BYD’s Type A battery-electric school bus is perfect for routes with fewer students and for transporting those with disabilities.
BYD buses can be equipped with HSM 3-point lap-shoulder belts, integrated child seats, and portable restraints. These school bus seats are not only designed to keep children safer, but they have the benefits of improving behavior, reducing bullying, and minimizing driver distraction.
With the driver being the first safety element, BYD drew from the experience of thousands of bus operators to enhance comfort and ergonomics in designing the driver’s cockpit. The driver’s area features comfort seats, a 16.5-inch power steering wheel and telescopic steering column, high level of visibility, and easy to reach control switches. The driver can also control the air conditioning over the cockpit in addition to controlling the system for passengers.
“Just like our Type D bus introduced last year, our Type A bus bi-directional charging capability is a game changer,” said Samuel Kang, BYD’s Head of Total Technology Solutions. “School buses can be charged 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 and students and teachers plugged-in.”
BYD offers two kind of charging solutions to meet different needs. The150 kw DC charging solution is available with high charging power and efficiency. BYD also provides 19.2 kw single phase AC charging.
BYD’s innovative battery-electric technology can cut fuel costs by as much as 60% compared to diesel vehicles. With fewer moving parts and less vibration, maintenance costs can be cut by as much as 60%.
BYD and Berkshire Hathaway
In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.
© 2022 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.