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BYD’s New London Bus Means Even Brits Who Can’t Drive Can’t Escape The Chinese EV Takeover

Double-decker BD11 bus has four hub motors, a massive 532 kWh Blade battery and can charge at 500 kW


by Chris Chilton

May 23, 2024 at 12:30

 BYD’s New London Bus Means Even Brits Who Can’t Drive Can’t Escape The Chinese EV Takeover

  • New BYD BD11 London bus has four hub motors, 532 kWh battery and can charge at 500 kW.
  • Features driver assistance systems commonplace on modern cars.
  • This model is designed for London, but different versions for other UK regions will follow.

Chinese automakers like BYD are starting to make their presence felt in Europe and the UK with models like the Dolphin, and come 2025, the $9,000 Seagull will be also be available. But the launch of a new BYD London bus means even Brits without a driving licence could end up travelling to work in a Chinese EV.

The BYD BD11 is an all-electric double-decker bus that’s been specifically designed for the UK capital and, if the firm wins the contract, should enter service later this year and replace London’s famous Routemaster hybrid buses as the city moves to an all-electric fleet. Different versions for other cities and regions will follow.

Related: BYD Seal U DM-I Plug-In Hybrid SUV Brings China’s PHEV Tech To Europe

Fitted with a gargantuan 532 kWh battery featuring BYD’s own Blade technology, the BD11 could be capable of up to 400 miles (644 km) on a charge, Autocar reports, though the battery’s modular structure means smaller versions could be available if operators decide they don’t need that much range.

But even if they do, charging the jumbo 532 kWh pack only takes a couple of hours thanks to 500-volt charging speeds and the option of topping-up via phantograph overhead wires (which might work in some cities, but not London) or dual-gun charging, that as the name suggests, means you can plug two charging wires in at once.

 BYD’s New London Bus Means Even Brits Who Can’t Drive Can’t Escape The Chinese EV Takeover

And that charging speed isn’t the only bit of tech that sounds surprisingly sophisticated. The BD11 employs four hub motors to send its unspecified power to the ground, has active suspension and even keeps the passengers safe through the use of driver assistance features usually seen in the car world, like automatic emergency braking.

BYD says it’s the only NEV (new energy vehicle) manufacturer that’s developing its own motors, batteries, chips and control systems, which gives it far more control over supply and production than other companies. It claims to already have 1,800 BYD eBuses operating on UK roads that have clocked up 80 million miles (130 million km), equating to a 137 million-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions.

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