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Vadner Doelen: Electric buses to be assembled in Windsor

Designed in China, powered by Chinese-made batteries

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Windsor’s automotive industry is about to start growing again with the first new assembly operation to locate here in decades.

But it won’t be the Detroit Three or any other well-known automotive company opening the facility, and the plant won’t produce cars or trucks.

Try buses — big, lithiumion powered, electric buses meant for city transit authorities. Designed in China, powered by Chinese-made batteries.

East Wind Group Inc. of Mississauga has chosen Windsor for assembly of the buses, which have been designed by international battery giant BYD Co. of Shenzhen, China.

The company held an open house at its Mississauga offices this week to showoff the “E-Bus,” dubbed the K9, for potential customers.

Among the transit companies booked to inspect the bus in an upcoming open house the week of May 24th are OC Transpo of Ottawa, Metrolinx of the Greater Toronto Area, plus the transit companies of Brampton, the Niagara Region and elsewhere.

Attempts to reach company executives were unsuccessful Friday. But an employee answering the phone confirmed the buses will be assembled in Windsor.

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis was scheduled to fly to Hong Kong this week, which is only a half-hour drive from BYD’s headquarters in Shenzhen. But he wouldn’t discuss the reason for his trip when asked.

“I will be in Hong Kong with economic development staff. But we don’t comment on economic developments until they are announced,” Francis said Friday.

Depending on how they are built, a bus assembly operation may not require a large manufacturing footprint or require more than a few dozen employees. It would probably start small until sales staff can build up an order book.

But an electric bus company would be a major boost to the Windsor-Essex region’s industrial future as it attempts to remake itself into a green economy focused on renewable energy companies.

The addition of electric vehicle production and lithium-ion technology to the growing mix of solar and wind manufacturers opening plants in the city is certain to lead to spin-off industries and exports to the rest of NAFTA.

Buses are often assembled in facilities known as “CKD plants,” or Complete Knock Down. They have no robots, little tooling, and may not even have a paint shop. They receive shipments of complete vehicle kits which are assembled using local labour to circumvent import duties. Volvo once had such a plant assembling cars in Halifax.

BYD — the company says it stands for “Build Your Dreams,” although industry insiders say it’s actually an acronym for an unpronouncable Chinese name — is famous for several things: being the world’s largest manufacturer of batteries for mobile phones and laptop computers, and having the world’s richest man as a shareholder.

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought 9.9 per cent of its shares for $230 million in 2008, causing a huge stir in automotive circles.

BYD is huge. It had a reported 130,000 employees in 2008, when it assembled more than 500,000 gasoline-powered cars for the domestic Chinese market.

BYD Automobile also now produces gasoline-electric hybrids for China, and has been threatening for several years to produce an all-elecrtric car for world export. It has shown vehicles several times at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

BYD has a knack for finding the world’s biggest partners. In addition to Buffet, Daimler AG is a 50-50 partner in BYD’s Chinese electric car business.

BYD’s electric bus, the K9, is a smaller unit than most municipal buses, measuring just 12 metres long by 2.5 metres wide. That’s comparable in size to the short-wheelbase tunnel bus Windsor Transit operates between Windsor and Detroit.

It is said to have a range of 250 km to 300 km (186 miles) and a top speed of 70 km. It takes six hours to fully charge a K9 using conventional 120 or 240-volt chargers. But its batteries can be given a half-charge in only 30 minutes using a proprietary rapid-charging unit designed by BYD, so the bus could easily be topped up for all-day use during driver breaks.

No K9s are in service yet outside China, where a demonstration fleet of 1,000 buses ply the streets in the town of Changsha – which also happens to be where the K9 assembly plant is located.

Given the usual ownership integration between Chinese city governments and their local industries, it’s a safe assumption that Changsha didn’t consider anybody’s else’s buses for their fleet.

In March BYD announced it was sending two K9s to Copenhagen for testing by Denmark’s public transport agency. If the bus passes the test, they will be put into service in 2012, becoming BYD’s first overseas customer.

BYD has also produced 1,000 F3DM plug-in hybrid cars and several hundred e6 pure electric cars, but none of those are in use outside China, either.

The BYD project is not getting any known financial support from the federal or provincial governments, two sources said Friday, But it may be eligible for a property tax break under Windsor’s new Community Investment Program — and that could be a major reason the company has chosen the city.

That, plus an abundance of highly experienced former auto assemblers.

With the skyrocketing price of diesel and gasoline, the timing of BYD’s entry into the North American market might be perfect.

cvanderdoelen@windsorstar.com or 519-255-6852

© Copyright © The Windsor Star

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East Wind Group Inc. of Mississauga has chosen Windsor for assembly of the buses, which have been designed by international battery giant BYD Co. of Shenzhen, China.

Interesting...

East Wind translated to Chinese is Dong Feng, which according to Wikipedia sources is the second most-productive Chinese vehicle-maker.

http://www.dfmc.com.cn/dfmczg/main_en.aspx

I wonder if there is any relation.

I have photos of one of their older bus products in Beijing:

Beijing_Public_Transport_Holdings_57059.jpg

BYD, on the other hand, builds passenger vehicles which are pretty well a copy of existing vehicles (Toyota, Mercedes, Kia):

http://www.byd.com/

Wouldn't trust those vehicles at all for safety. But maybe the batteries are good...

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Interesting...

East Wind translated to Chinese is Dong Feng, which according to Wikipedia sources is the second most-productive Chinese vehicle-maker.

http://www.dfmc.com.cn/dfmczg/main_en.aspx

I wonder if there is any relation.

I have photos of one of their older bus products in Beijing:

Beijing_Public_Transport_Holdings_57059.jpg

BYD, on the other hand, builds passenger vehicles which are pretty well a copy of existing vehicles (Toyota, Mercedes, Kia):

http://www.byd.com/

Wouldn't trust those vehicles at all for safety. But maybe the batteries are good...

In Canada, i dont think 300km range is not good enough. Unless you use them for rush hour extra's for small towns.

Its possible that some small transit agencies could use them, but i doubt larger cities would consider these products.

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BYD’s electric bus, the K9, is a smaller unit than most municipal buses, measuring just 12 metres long by 2.5 metres wide. That’s comparable in size to the short-wheelbase tunnel bus Windsor Transit operates between Windsor and Detroit.

There's a slight mistake here. 12 metres would be more comparable to an Orion V than an EZR, but 2.5 metres would make it narrower which is normal on buses outside North America. The batteries appear to be in cabinets over the wheels and take up seating space and block the view. Not a fan of that. Sleek looking, looks a little like a Citaro.

The bus was displayed last month at Eastwind Group in Mississauga

BYD_Electric_BUS_k9.jpg

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http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2011/10/25/el...dels-more-bucks

102511EV-bus.jpg

BYD, which stands for "Build Your Dreams," also announced that it would supply Hertz Car Rentals' Los Angeles Airport (LAX) facility with an eBUS-12 to shuttle rental customers between its facility and the terminal. The all-electric bus can drive 155 miles on one charge and may generate lifetime savings up to $500,000," Richard Broome, Hertz's senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, said in a statement.

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City of Windsor First in North America to Launch BYD Environmentally-Friendly Electric Buses

WINDSOR, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

This week, Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis signed a letter of intent to purchase up to ten (10), BYD 40-foot electric buses for City transit services in 2012 – the first City in North America to launch long-range, all-electric buses. The agreement also opens talks to bring manufacturing of BYD buses to the Ontario region in the near future. Transit Windsor has the unique distinction of running in Canada as well as in Detroit, making this launch one that serves on both Canadian and United States’ roads.

Stella Li, President of BYD Motors and Senior Vice President of BYD Ltd stated, “BYD has been delighted to see Windsor’s leadership, especially that of Mayor Eddie Francis and his Transit and Enwin Utilities team members. They truly have an understanding of the responsibility of government to drive not only economic recovery of our cities and Nations, but to do so while not harming the environment.” The BYD Iron-Phosphate batteries used in these electric buses are the only rechargeable battery systems that contain no heavy metals, toxic electrolytes or use caustic materials in their production. This makes the BYD batteries the most environmentally friendly batteries available in the market. Additionally, BYD and Enwin are working towards having a master plan to repurpose the Windsor bus batteries into fixed Energy Storage Stations when the buses retire (in 12 to 15 years).

Mayor Eddie Francis stated, “One of our primary goals was to position Windsor among the first cities in North America to pioneer the efficient use of electric buses within its public transit authority and to establish Windsor as a hub for the development, manufacture and commercialization of energy products including electric buses.”

BYD is in the process of completing FMVSS, CMVSS, and other certification testing in North America this year with further plans for fleet sales and deliveries after the first Windsor bus deliveries. BYD’s all-electric vehicles in commercial fleets have traveled over 10 million miles over the last two years (as of Q1-2012), showing that their bus technology is quite mature. BYD has delivered over 300 all-electric buses worldwide and has orders for over 1300 more in 2012, making it the largest electric bus manufacturer in the world. For more information, visit BYD atwww.facebook.com/bydcompany and www.byd.com.

About BYD

BYD is ranked #1 at the top of Bloomberg’s and BusinessWeek's 2009 Tech 100 List (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100520006751/en/BYD-Tops-Bloomberg-Businessweek%E2%80%99s-12th-Annual-Tech) and is the leading manufacturer of advanced,environmentally-friendly battery technologies like the BYD’s Iron Phosphate battery used in BYD electric vehicles and electric busses. BYD’s solar panels and LED Lighting systems have CEC, TUV/CE and UL listings, and the company enjoys rapid growth in consumer electronics space and electrified transportation sector manufacturing under its BYD brand. BYD is the fastest-growing Chinese automotive and green energy technology enterprise. The Company trades on the Hong Kong Exchange (HKE) under the ticker numbers (HK.0285 – BYD Electronics) and (HK.1211 – BYD Company Ltd.), as well as on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange under the ticker number (002594 - BYD Company Ltd.). For more information, visit www.byd.com,www.facebook.com/bydcompany or email pr@byd.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50266816〈=en

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50266816〈=en

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In Canada, i dont think 300km range is not good enough. Unless you use them for rush hour extra's for small towns.

Its possible that some small transit agencies could use them, but i doubt larger cities would consider these products.

One one charge it can go for 300KM but it can go longer as there are solar panels on board to charge the batteries.

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June 29, 2012

Industry News

U. of Utah orders BYD electric bus

M-BYD-electric-bus-for-U-of-Utah-eBUS-.jpgThe University of Utah has placed an order for a 40-foot, all-electric transit bus with BYD Company Ltd. (BYD) the largest manufacture of all-electric buses in the world.

BYD's long-range, all-electric, "GreenCity" buses have been running worldwide in commercial fleet service for the last two years. BYD's GreenCity fleets (which include both eTaxi's and eBUSes) have accumulated over 14 million miles using BYD's internally developed electric drive technologies and Iron-Phosphate battery systems.

The manufacturer will supply one all-electric bus to be retrofitted with WAVE's wireless charging pad under the bus, developed by the Utah State University Energy Dynamics Laboratory.

This technology will allow the electric buses to pull up over an embedded charger in the asphalt with a maximum of 10 inches clearance and "opportunity charge" the waiting bus with no moving parts or unsightly wires required. The funds to test a full in-service operation of WAVE's wireless power charging system were provided through a Federal Transit Administration grant awarded to the Utah Transit Authority.

The new 40-foot electric bus will be the first shuttle to be allowed to run across the heart of campus — a 1.7-mile loop route between the South Campus TRAX station north to the Warnock Engineering building with midway stops at the Student Union buildings. The bus runs will be timed to pick up passengers coming off eastbound trains on a 15-minute cycle. The driver will position the bus over the charging pad during several minute wait periods between runs. The embedded charge pads measure about three feet square and pose no danger to the public. Nothing protrudes above the surface to be damaged by cars, snow plows or vandals.

"We will be the model of zero emissions rapid transit for the Nation," said Alma Allred, the University of Utah's Director of Commuter services. "We want to be in the forefront of technology that reduces the need for fossil fuels and has zero noise and zero pollution."

Copyright ©

2012

Metro Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/Story/2012/06/U-of-Utah-orders-BYD-electric-bus.aspx?ref=University-Transit-20120709&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

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Brief article and nice photo of a BYD bus (presumably from Columbia) on this page.

http://green.autoblo...ts-in-colombia/

"The energy efficiency of electric buses from BYD didn't get lost in translation, apparently.

The Chinese company entered its all-electric buses in a fuel-efficiency testing program put on in Colombia by the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and InterAmerican Development Bank (IABD), and the buses came up big.

Running against diesel and CNG-hybrid buses on a 12-mile route through Bogota that took between 60 and 90 minutes to complete, BYD's bus achieved a 7.3 km/liter-equivalent by measuring costs and 11 km/liter-equivalent measuring by energy output, which was the best among the buses tested. By our math, that comes out to between 17 to 26 miles per gallon equivalent, which doesn't sound great relative to cars, but is three to four times what the typical smoke-belching diesel bus gets."

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BYD’s K9 electric buses, which have already passed road tests, will carry a price of $550,000 to $600,000 each. They will come to the US market in March and first be used at Apple Inc’s headquarters in Cupertino, California; at Los Angeles International Airport; and at Stanford University, said Li.

http://www.carnewschina.com/2012/12/19/chinas-byd-to-make-electric-buses-in-the-us/

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BYD’s K9 electric buses, which have already passed road tests, will carry a price of $550,000 to $600,000 each. They will come to the US market in March and first be used at Apple Inc’s headquarters in Cupertino, California; at Los Angeles International Airport; and at Stanford University, said Li.

http://www.carnewsch...uses-in-the-us/

I guess LAX is for Hertz?

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Also of note from that article: BYD will be assembling electric buses at a factory in California.

And from the California demo, it looks like they are offering a revised K9 model with a partial low floor, modified front and rear, and batteries on the roof.

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Good point, AB. Looks like they intend to compete with Proterra and everybody else on electric buses. Be Buy America compliant. Should be interesting.

However, I doubt they will be able to sell their buses for $550,000 to $600,000 each and stay in business. If they can, they ought to have a big advantage on price. Seems like Proterra and New Flyer are charging a million per bus or so.

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BYD continues to say that they will produce electric buses in the US for only $550,00 to $600,000 each:

http://www.plugincars.com/long-beach-electric-buses-made-america-chinese-company-126662.html

BYD would begin producing electric buses in the U.S. in 2013. “Starting in 2015, the production capacity will exceed 500 vehicles,” Xinhua quoted BYD senior vice president Stella Li as saying. The price tag would be $550,000 to $600,000 each, said Li. California is the likely location for the plant. BYD’s North American headquarters is located in Los Angeles. BYD spokesman Michael Austin confirmed that BYD bid was being considered by the Long Beach Transit, but would not confirm they will be produced in California.

According to the company’s website, the BYD ebus uses a Fe battery developed by BYD. It can travel 155 miles on a single charge and the battery is fully recharged in three to six hours on a BYD charger, says BYD. “The energy consumption of the ebus is less than 100 kWh per 60 miles,” says BYD. To be sure, the ebus is nice looking. It is roomy and attractive, with a low floor for easy access One BYD electric bus is already in the area. Hertz uses it as a shuttle bus at LAX airport.

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With thanks to Shakey077, don't miss this write up on BYD from the Long Beach Post. (AverageJoe, looks like you made the right call)

http://www.lbpost.co...ns#.UU3wdJgeWJW

Here are excerpts:

BYD Motors, the U.S.-based subsidiary of a China-based company that Long Beach Transit (LBT) staff recommended this past February 25 for its Electric Bus Project, is--according to multiple documents--not the company it claims itself to be. . . .

it appears that the company is not only lacking Altoona-approval--the federal U.S. standard for testing public transit buses, which presents a huge risk should LBT take on their buses--but has ultimately failed in establishing promised North American headquarters in Los Angeles and Windsor, Canada. Statements from Rolando Cruz, executive director and vice president at LBT's Maintenance and Facilities division say that BYD plans to be producing buses in America by 2014, however, a presentation made to the LBT board stated that the transit authority hoped to have the project completed by June of 2014.

This ultimately means that the entirety of the buses being offered by BYD will be composed of Chinese components, ultimately contradicting LBT's electric bus grant, which has a Buy America clause stipulating that at least 60% of the bus components be made in the U.S. and the bus itself be assembled in the U.S.

As reported yesterday, the Long Beach Post verified from executives at Apple and Hertz, the two sole U.S. accounts BYD claimed to have had, that they have not purchased any buses from BYD. Ryan Poppel, an investment partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also pointed out that BYD has fabricated claims of units in service in Milan and Holland, calling BYD an "unproven company."

To test the performance of their buses, BYD held a trial run--not a buy-in--with Hertz in Los Angeles on December 23, 2012. The results of these trials as claimed BYD were that their electric bus produced a 155+ mile range while running at 1.66kWh/mi. Results obtained by the Post show that the trial actually produced a range of 123 miles with a 2.02 kWh/mi consumption rate--all with no heating or A/C, meaning that more than 90% of the battery would have to be used in order to achieve the results claimed by BYD. On a hot day with a full passenger load, the bus performance would actually result in about a 65 mile range at 3.8 kWh/mi. Estimated full-charge time for BYD buses is three to four hours.

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I'm starting to wonder if LBT's order will be shifted as a result of this scandal.

I think Medic is right. BYD not only is unlikely to end up with this order from LBT, but their reputation is going to be hit hard all over California and beyond and they might never recover, especially in the US market. If its true, word that they have been lying and exaggerating is going to get around. Nobody is going to trust them and business deals depend on trust.

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