BYD Wins With Long Beach Transit

Ken McDonald, the CEO of Long Beach Transit (LBT) gave a presentation of the BYD K9 electric busto kick off its use and explained why the city chose the bus. Although technically still a program, the BYD K9 demonstration has been very positive so far. The few bus drivers I spoke to said it handles better than the regular diesel hybrid buses the city has been running for over a decade. We eventually took its maiden test drive for the Long Beach Rotary club with fanfare.

Long Beach Transit is a nonprofit that only serves Long Beach. It has an operating budget of $86 million and offers 26 million rides per year. It currently operates 250 buses and 4 vessels. Yes, you can take a few taxi boats to visit the Queen Mary from various locations.

The BYD K9 Has A Trick Up Its Sleeve

So far, the city has committed to buying 10 BYD K9 electric buses. The price of each hasn’t been officially revealed. In order to conveniently operate these buses, the city is committed to installing 10 EV charging stations. But the part that surprised me the most about the BYD K9 buses is that their fast-charging system is carried onboard and works with AC, not the more conventional DC. There is a lot of controversy about whether to use AC or DC for fast charging. As you can also imagine, there’s also a lot of politics involved, and where politic is involved, so is lobbying. BYD stands behind its choice to use AC for fast charging.

And did I mention how quiet it is? The only noise was the cheerful discussions the Long Beach Rotary club was having. Short of the AC compressor working in the background, you have to stand over the rear axle of the bus in the back to hear the familiar whine of the electric motor.

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