BYD Electric Buses in Lancaster, CA

BYD Launches Electric Bus Plant With Call for Utility Rate Redesign (article by Greentech Media, May 2)

BYD head wants utility bill demand charges waived during nighttime battery recharge.

Commentary:  Electric transport will allow much greater share of renewable energy in the transport sector in the long term, and we're seeing many new types of vehicles emerge, and the use of electric taxis and public transit vehicles in a growing number of countries, particularly China and India.  

The article notes that these buses cost $800,000 each, much more expensive than a regular diesel bus, because of the expensive Lithium batteries (300 kWh worth).  So the buses are not practical for cash-starved US cities at the moment.  However, per-mile costs for operating the buses will be lower, comparing diesel fuel cost with electricity and other maintenance costs, so lower life-cycle cost could offset or amortize the capital cost.  And pioneering efforts like this will pave the way for much lower costs in the future with higher manufacturing volumes and technology improvements, bet on it.

What's really interesting about this article is the interaction between the transport industry and the electric power industry.  This is a completely new phenomenon — that a car-maker (BYD) is calling for changes in the regulation and rate-structure of the electric power industry.  This article points to the growing interconnection between the two industries, and we'll see much more interaction and integration in the future, as the lines between transport and electric power, historically completely separated, get more and more blurred. And what new kinds of companies will emerge that merge the two industries?

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