Capitol Area Transit System (CATS) CEO William J. “Bill” Deville had a mandate to make electric buses viable in Baton Rouge, La., which is served by his agency.
“We looked at the market and saw that BYD is a leader,” he said in a recent interview. “In fact, they have 65,000 vehicles in operation overseas or across the world and 500 or so right here in the U.S.”
The numbers told a story
“We saw that they are the leader in battery technology,” Deville added. “They are committed to safe battery technology, and with that in mind, we reached out to BYD and decided to partner with them.”
A leader with more than 30 years of transit experience, Deville has worked in a variety of capacities in the transit industry.
Deville has spent more than two decades with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, culminating in the role of CEO. His work with MV Transportation led him to CATS, where he worked for two years as both project manager for MV and COO for CATS.
With a range of approximately 150 miles on a single charge and a capacity of up to 32 passengers, depending on configuration, the K9S is ideally suited for the needs of Baton Rouge.
BYD Iron-Phosphate battery is nontoxic, 100% recyclable, fire-safe, and incredibly long-cycled, according to the company. In fact, BYD is the first and only electric bus manufacturer to offer a full 12-year warranty on batteries.
“We are excited to incorporate electric buses into our planned bus rapid transit projects in Baton Rouge,” Deville said. “These buses will allow us to see how we can use electric buses to reduce the impact of our fleet on our environment and also control costs.”
CATS provides bus service to residents of and visitors to Baton Rouge. The system operates 29 bus lines and provides more than two million rides each year. To CATS leaders, BYD buses showcase an important opportunity to highlight innovation.
“Electric buses are a big step forward for CATS. They represent a chance to pilot new technology in Baton Rouge, and we are very excited about that,” said Jim Brandt, president of the CATS Board of Commissioners.
BYD buses ranging from 30-foot transit to 60-foot articulated models will be on display in booth 3553 at APTA’s TRANSform Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 7 to 11.
The American-built buses are powered by BYD battery packs assembled in Lancaster, Calif. The batteries are delivering performance, durability, and reliability while setting the highest standards for safety in the industry. BYD’s revolutionary iron-phosphate batteries are completely non-toxic and safe even in the most extreme conditions.
BYD focuses its R&D efforts on advancing its iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries to deliver the highest standard for safety, longevity, and reliability. To prove this high standard, BYD batteries pass a rigorous safety testing program. The program includes tests such as short-circuit, crush, puncture, impact, water submersion, vibration, open flame, and more.
“We took a look at the horizon of all the electric bus manufacturers and, long-story short, we have BYD and we’re very happy with the BYD electric buses,” Deville said.
It’s not just management that acknowledges the superiority of the BYD product, drivers are pleased too.
“When I’m assigned an electric bus in the morning, I’m so excited,” CATS Operator Quintora Grey said. “When I get to my bus I pre-trip it, and I just know my day is going to be lovely with an electric bus.
“All our operators love driving the BYD bus,” she continued. “It’s smooth, less noise. The braking system is excellent. It’s just less stressful on a day’s base of work.”
In addition to providing performance and safety, BYD has the battery-electric bus industry’s longest warranty — 12 years. BYD batteries require no replacement during their standard service life.
“Our mission at BYD is simple. We want to change the world and are proud of our clients that are joining us in that effort. We look forward to seeing you all at APTA,” said BYD sr. VP Patrick Duan.