BYD wins public transportation contract in Netherlands to supply fully electric buses.

Electrische bussen BYD Schiermonnikoog

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In the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD has just won a contract in a European legal tender and open bid supported by four major bus manufacturers to supply a fleet of 6 fully electric buses to the small island of Schiermonnikoog.

With a population of only 1000, the 16 km-long island, home to the Netherland’s first National Park, has virtually no cars of its own, and most of its car traffic derives from its nearly 350,000 annual visitors. The provincial Executive Director Johannes Kramer is enthusiastic about the deal, as he believes that it will be good for tourism, as well as for the environment. The buses, at 40 feet long, can accommodate around 60-70 passengers. Since the buses will be fully electric, they will be running on BYD’s Iron Phosphate battery, which boasts the highest safety, longest service life and the most-environmentally-friendly battery out of its competitors. Indeed, the buses will be able to travel 250-300km on a single charge, which will be sufficient for the small island, and can be recharged overnight. With this new contract, Schiermonnikoog will also be able to claim the honour of having Europe’s greenest bus fleet when they launch in 2013.

This new contract supports Friesland province’s stated goal to be fully independent of fossil fuels. It has stated that over a third of its CO2 emissions were caused by traffic and transportation pollution.

BYD is making inroads into the European and North American electric car markets, as it has already signed a contract with the Town of Windsor in Canada, to supply 40 fleets of electric buses, and is already in service in the Chinese city of Shenzhen and at Los Angeles airport. Hopes are high for BYD, as the fast-growing Chinese enterprise is already ranked #1 at the top of Bloomberg’s and BusinessWeek’s 2009 Tech 100 List, and is already the leading manufacturer of advanced, environmentally-friendly battery technologies, as well as consumer electronics. Despite recent setbacks such as the alleged explosion of a BYD battery following a collision involving one of its electric car models inShenzhen,China, on May 26, the company is still going strong, even opening up its North American headquarters in LA in February of this year. If all goes well, BYD will no doubt see a bright future for itself as Western attempts to become more environmentally friendly drives greater demand for electric vehicles.