BYD electric bus

Don Henley once sang of a New York Minute. When it comes to BYD and the testing of its all-electric buses, though, the time measurement of choice is 30 hours. That's how long buses made by the China-based automaker can run between electric charges, according to recent tests.

SAE International says BYD ran the bus through a pilot test with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that was conducted between August and October of 2013. The bus, which ran along various Manhattan routes for a total of 1,481 miles, managed to approach BYD's proclaimed single-charge range of 155 miles. As a result of the relatively short distances (unlike diesel buses, electric buses consume very little energy when idling), the bus could run about 30 hours between charges.

The upshot is that the operating costs for the bus totaled about a quarter per mile, compared to about $1.30 a mile for a diesel- or natural gas-powered bus. Another BYD bus recently completed the first phase of a 10-month testing project in Canada and was also found to be right around that 155-mile single-charge range, even when running at slightly higher average speeds than in Manhattan.

Such results present a rosier outlook than what was implied late last year, when BYD faced questions about bus reliability after buses being tested in Long Beach, CA, were found to have cracks in their frames, according to the Long Beach Business Journal. The city of Los Angeles made an agreement with BYD last summer to buy 25 new electric buses.