Spokane Transit (STA) is participating in a statewide evaluation of an all-electric bus produced by BYD Motors. The zero-emissions bus debuted on Friday in Spokane.
“We are looking forward to running the vehicle for about a month,” said E. Susan Meyer, CEO, STA. “We are always interested in exploring environmentally-friendly, cost-effective fuel alternatives.”
The bus will alternate between several routes throughout March.
STA integrated the first hybrid diesel-electric buses into its fleet in 2007. That number has now grown to 28. The transit system’s hybrid buses have 17% better fuel economy than standard diesel buses and produce 17% fewer emissions, according to BYD.
The eight new buses that STA will receive this year will be fitted with electric cooling systems technology that the transit system tested and found to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions by an additional 6% over buses using a conventional hydraulic cooling system. The transit agency has also upgraded the transmission systems on its buses for additional fuel economy and emissions reduction.
STA’s testing of electric bus technology comes at an opportune time because the board of directors will soon make decisions about bus replacements planned for delivery in 2018-2019.
BYD describes the all-electric bus as “clean, silent and efficient,” using the industry's first environmentally-friendly, fire-safe battery chemistry, according to the manufacturer.
The vehicle’s 324 kilowatt, non-toxic, iron-phosphate battery is designed to power the bus for up to 24 hours on a single, nighttime charge. The battery will last 20 years beyond the average 12-year life of a bus, and can be reused in non-transportation applications, according to BYD.