BYD BD11 electric buses set for London routes

BD11 electric bus BYD BD11 electric bus (Photo: BYD)

China-based electric vehicle OEM BYD is to start delivery of its battery-electric BD11 double-decker bus to Transport for London. The model will replace the existing Routemaster buses, also known as ‘Boris Buses’ as they were launched during the period when Boris Johnson was the capital’s mayor.

The BD11 is a rear-wheel drive model which features two 150 kW electric motors positioned on the rear axle. These deliver up to 600 Nm of torque. The motors receive power from a 532 kWh battery pack (457 kWh is usable), which deliver a ‘real world’ range of more than 400 miles.

The buses feature BYD’s ‘Blade’ battery packs. These are more compact than equivalent products, using only 50% of the space taken up by standard batteries.

They have also been designed to address safety concerns and have passed some rigorous tests. For example, a nail penetration test resulted in neither fire or smoke, while surface temperatures only ranged between 30 and 60ᵒC. In addition, they are designed to prevent any oxygen release during chemical breakdown so as to not promote fire.

With a maximum charge rate of 500 kW, the battery packs can (should the high-power feed be available) be recharged from 0 to 100% in two hours.

Measuring 10.9 metres in length, the BD11 can carry up to 90 passengers. An active air suspension system allows the driver to choose settings based on capacity.

In addition, where the Routemaster relied on air conditioning to keep interior temperatures cool, in cases where this wasn’t functioning the buses would be uncomfortably hot. To address this, the BD11 has opening windows on the top deck.

Pervious generations of BYD electric buses are currently in operation in London. With about 1800 units in total, they are estimated to have driven more than 80 million miles.

The BYD BD11 are set to enter service in London in late 2024. A ‘provincial’ model for use outside the capital are also said to be under development.

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