BYD marked the company's entrance into the mass transit market with the introduction of its new low-cost, light rail train for small and medium-sized cities.
"Mass transit systems are an indispensable solution to alleviate traffic congestion in cities,” said BYD president/cairman Wang Chuanfu at the October 13th launch ceremony. “As a rail transport option with relatively smaller passenger capacity, ‘SkyRail’ can complement existing public transport systems to create a layered transport system encompassing underground, roadway and elevated elements."
BYD set up an R&D team consisting of more than 1,000 people. As the result of an estimated $757 million investment over the past five years, BYD developed the light rail train, known as SkyRail.
As a mass transit alternative with relatively smaller passenger capacity, the company touted SkyRail's ability to deliver: capital expenditure 80% lower than a regular metro line, and cuts construction period by two-thirds, offers higher climbing ability and smaller turning radius, reduced noise to allow travel through architectural complexes. Additionally, the train allows for capacity between 10,000 to 30,000 passengers an hour (each way) and a high speed of up to 50 mph.
The light rail technology is applicable to small and medium-sized cities, heavy traffic routes, CBD’s and routes connecting tourist attractions in large cities, according to the company.