Chinese automaker BYD unveiled a new fully electric bus for the Brazilian market on Nov 6 in Rio de Janeiro. The K9-12d is the first 100 percent-electric bus with zero emissions. The 12-meter long bus has four doors with 24 seats and can run for 250 kilometers on a single charge.
The bus debuted at the 16th Etransport Congress in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first time a Chinese automotive company took part in Etransport. The bus was built with Brazilian regulations in mind and took the Shenzhen-based company two years to build.
The average life of a K9-12d is 10 years, and the batteries can last for 30 years, which means they can be recycled, said BYD. “Clean-energy vehicles [are] the irreversible trend of the future transportation industry,” said Eduardo Chau Ribeiro from Technibus, an industrial magazine in Brazil. “The air pollution in major cities has aroused the public awareness of the necessity to develop clean energy transportation vehicles. BYD is undoubtedly one of the industry leaders in this field.”
Ribeiro told the Xinhua News Agency that although BYD’s technology is advanced, the cost of a pure-electric bus is still an obstacle. “But I believe BYD will enter more Brazilian cities in the near future,” he added.
BYD also recently participated in the National Science and Technology Week in Brasilia. Its pure-electric bus K9 and pure-electric taxi e6 were welcomed by visitors. Carlos Alberto Koch Ribeiro, the director-president of TCB Financial Corp, praised the K9 for its quiet operation. TCB is the first public transportation company in Brasilia. BYD’s pure-electric bus just completed a commissioning process from July to September for TCB, and data show that its operating cost was 75 percent lower compared that that of traditional fuel buses.
BYD has completed the commissioning process in many large cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. “To protect the local bus industry, Brazilian government put forward a set of special sizes and standards for almost all parts of a bus, which adds burden for international companies to enter this market, including Chinese ones,” said Tyler Lee, general manager of BYD Brazil.
Despite the many challenges, BYD still sees Brazil as a promising market.
“Brazil is a wealthy country, and its government highly values environmental-friendly industry, let alone the large market potentials,” said Stella Li, senior vice-president of BYD. “These are the reasons why BYD needs to enter Brazil.”
BYD signed a three-year contract in July during Chinese President Xi Jinxing’s state visit to Brazil to rent a 30,000-square-meter factory as its first production base in Latin America. The factory is expected to start operation in 2015 with annual production of 500 electric buses, which also will be sent to Columbia, Chile and Uruguay.
The company will invest $91 million in Brazil in the next three to five years and is planning to build its own factory, but the project is still under evaluation. BYD also sells vehicles in Singapore, Malaysia, Europe and the United States. Brazil, the fourth-largest auto market in the world, has attracted a series of Chinese automotive entrepreneurs, including Chery, Geely and Lifan Group.