China’s BYD unveils new electric bus for London TfL contract

Chinese automaker BYD has unveiled its latest electric bus, as it closes in on a deal to build a fleet of all-electric buses for Transport for London (TfL).

BYD, which briefly overtook Tesla as the world’s biggest seller of EVs for three months of 2023, benefits from state subsidies, meaning it can export vehicles cheaper than Western rivals.

The company’s new electric double-decker bus, the BD11, is being launched 11 years after its first UK launch, with its fleet now having 18 million miles under its belt.

It has been specifically designed for London, with plans for a provincial model to follow.

The BD11 runs on BYD’s Blade battery, which the Chinese car maker says has proven safety and durability credentials, highlighting that it can remain in operation for between 12 and 20 years.

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It also has an overall battery capacity of up to 532kWh, the largest of any electric commercial vehicle currently available in the UK.  

The launch comes as it’s reported that the Go-Ahead Group is poised to award BYD a contract to build more than 100 of its electric buses at a price of about £400,000 each, £100,000 cheaper than UK competitors, according to the report.

It would mark first time that BYD has won a commercial contract, replacing Routemaster, to provide EV double-deckers for the UK capital.

The report says the decision comes with the blessing of Transport for London (TfL), the body chaired by the London mayor Sadiq Khan and ultimately responsible for public transport in the capital.

BYD has faced criticism from human rights groups that metals in its supply chains were made using Uyghur forced labour.

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