Battery-electric buses have been on Long Beach streets for almost four years. Purchased from Build Your Dreams (BYD), a China-based auto manufacturer, Long Beach Transit rolled out its initial battery-electric buses along downtown streets in March 2016.
The company’s board of directors last November voted to execute an option to purchase an additional 14 buses under the same agreement, bringing LBT’s total to 24. Those additional buses should hit the asphalt in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Michael Gold, LBT’s public information officer.
Gold added that by the end of this year, all of LBT’s buses should be using alternatively fueled technology; none will be using diesel.
“And we expect to be very close to zero emissions by 2030,” he said.
The battery-electric, zero-emission K9M has 37 seats, a range of 155 miles and can be charged in 4.5 to 5 hours. The buses will be built at BYD’s Coach & Bus factory in Lancaster, Calif. With this purchase, BYD has now sold more than 470 electric buses to customers in Southern California including airports, universities, private operators and transit agencies.
“We have a great deal of admiration for Long Beach Transit’s decision to bring innovative BYD zero-emission bus technology to their community,” BYD North America President Stella Li said in a news release. “California is the largest economy on planet Earth that has committed itself to 100 percent clean energy, and Long Beach Transit is helping to lead the way.”
Gold said LBT has asked for bids for 20 additional battery-electric buses. “The 20 would be slightly smaller than what we currently have,” Gold said.
The 14 new buses will not be assigned to any particular routes. They will be introduced into the regular fleet.
“The buses we have now we feel very comfortable with the range,” he said. “We are using the battery-electric buses along the 45/46 route and the 176 route, for example. They are going all over the place.”
The combined Routes 45/46 serve Anaheim Street between the Blue Line Anaheim Station and Pacific Coast Highway. Route 45 continues west to Santa Fe Avenue, while Route 46 extends south to serve downtown Long Beach via Long Beach Boulevard. The 176 route provides limited-stop express service from Lower Westside Long Beach to Lakewood, primarily along PCH, Lakewood Boulevard and Clark Avenue.