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Canadian City First to Run All Electric Bus Fleet

The city of Windsor, Ontario, which sits directly across the Detroit River from Motown, recently announced that it's signed a letter of intent with China-based electric vehicle manufacturer BYD to supply the city with an electric bus fleet. In a recent press release, the city says the agreement will make Windsor the first city in North America to launch long-range, all-electric bus fleet.

The agreement stipulates that Windsor Transit will purchase up to 10 of BYD's 40-foot electric buses. Since it's so close to Detroit, Windsor Transit has routes that run into the United States, meaning those busses may have the unique distinction of running internationally.


image via BYD

The agreement also opens talks to bring manufacturing of BYD buses to the Ontario region in the near future. According to a report from the CBC, there is an exclusivity agreement included in the deal, which states the company will stop looking for a North American municipality in which to manufacture the buses while Transit Windsor runs pilot tests.

According to the release, 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, the company says. Additionally, BYD and the city are working toward a master plan to repurpose the Windsor bus batteries into fixed energy storage stations when the buses retire in 12 to 15 years.

For its part, BYD is moving aggressively to claim a large chunk of the burgeoning electric bus market. 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.

BYD electric bus dash

image via BYD

The company recently teamed with aluminum producer Alcoa to redesign and reengineer their buses. Replacing the steel chasis and many other components with aluminum has trimmed the new buses by 40 percent — nearly a ton. The combined weight savings are expected to help improve the overall range of the electric bus by at least 10 percent. The new bus has a range of approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a full charge