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AVTA Prepares for 85 BYD Electric Buses

March 11, 2016 in batteries, Electric Drive, EVs, EVSE, Fleet Order, transit by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Combination of Depot Conductive & In-Route Inductive Charging,
Solicitation Going Out Soon for 250-Kilowatt Inductive Equipment

Southern California’s Antelope Valley Transit Authority, having committed to spending $72.4 million on 85 all-battery buses from BYD and expecting the first 29 this year, is getting ready to charge them.

Laying the groundwork for a high-voltage future – AVTA prepares for Wave inductive charging at Lancaster City Park.

Laying the groundwork for a high-voltage future – AVTA prepares for Wave inductive charging at Lancaster City Park.

The AVTA board approved the expenditure last month (F&F, February 12). The Lancaster-based agency will use a mix of conductive depot and in-route inductive (wireless) equipment to deliver electricity to the vehicles’ onboard 480-volt AC chargers.

AVTA exective director Len Engel

AVTA exective director Len Engel

AVTA expects to receive 13 of BYD’s new 60-foot articulated battery buses and 16 all-electric 45-foot commuter coaches this year, accounting for about $29.1 million of the board-approved outlay.

In total, the agency has ordered 14 articulated 60-foot buses, 35 of BYD’s 45-foot coaches, and 36 standard 40-foot battery buses from BYD.

The Chargers Come with the Buses

The 60-footers have 540-kilowatt-hour lithium iron phosphate battery packs – also by BYD – and the 45-foot coaches have 390-kilowatt-hour packs, says BYD VP Macy Neshati.

AVTA has tapped Lancaster-based Arrow Engineering for the civil engineering end of the agency’s initial inductive charging installations: 50-kilowatt inductive charging units from Utah’s Wave will go to work at Lancaster and at the Palmdale Transportation Center, where there is a Metrolink train connection with Los Angeles to the south.

More Powerful Inductive Chargers Sought

AVTA is preparing an RFP for more powerful inductive charging units to be installed at 11 additional in-route locations. “We’re looking at 250 kilowatts,” says executive director Len Engel. AVTA will also be buying inductive receiving units for the initial buses.

BYD model EVA080KS/01 three-phase 'smart box' and charging connectors

BYD model EVA080KS/01 three-phase ‘smart box’ and charging connectors

“The actual device that charges the bus is on the bus,” BYD’s Neshati says, noting that BYD includes the AC units as part of the vehicle price. In addition, BYD is supplying “a smart box” charging interface for each vehicle. Wired together for overnight conductive charging of the AVTA fleet in Lancaster, they will optimize charging, allowing the most depleted buses to be automatically charged first after drivers connect them to the system – a feature that will be critically important as the fleet and electricity demand grows.

‘No Demand Charges’

For the electricity itself, “We have no demand charges in the city of Lancaster,” Engel told F&F. Electricity there is furnished by Lancaster Choice Energy. For locations in Los Angeles County and Palmdale, AVTA is negotiating with Southern California Edison for daytime power.

Engel says AVTA has budgeted approximately $3.5 million to cover the cost of charging infrastructure for its first 50 battery buses.

BYD’s Neshati notes that while the AVTA order for 85 battery buses is the standout for BYD North America, the three-year-old company is to deliver the first of three dozen 45-foot low-floor vehicles for the Denver Mall this summer, and also has an order for ten vehicles from Long Beach Transit (which is also to use Wave wireless charging).

90 Million Miles Worldwide

Upwards of two dozen additional BYD battery buses are on order from municipalities and universities in California, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Washington State and Alberta – where the city of St. Albert, near Edmonton, has just ordered the first three for Canada (35-footers; F&F, March 4).

It’s a happy coincidence, says Engel, that BYD North America assembles its all-battery buses in Lancaster. BYD took over the former Rexhall Industries recreational vehicle factory there three years ago (F&F, April 19, 2013).

Shenzhen, China-based BYD has delivered some 7,000 all-electric buses, Neshati says, and expects to build 7,600 more in 2016. Worldwide, “We’ve crested 90 million miles of service,” he told F&F.

BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams.”

All-battery BYD transit bus in AVTA colors

All-battery BYD transit bus in AVTA colors

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Source: BYD with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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