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China’s BYD targets Britain’s New Routemaster with electric double-decker bus

The BYD BD11 is powered by a colossal 523kWh battery and can be recharged at speeds of 500kW

BYD has only just started selling cars in the UK, but there are actually over 1,800 of its buses already operating in the UK. Now the Chinese goliath has unveiled its alternative to Britain’s New Routemater: the BYD BD11 electric double-decker bus.

Designed specifically for service in London, the BD11 will start rolling out later this year, with plans for another model for use outside of the capital to come later.

The BYD BD11 can accommodate up to 90 passengers and is powered by the company’s innovative ‘blade battery’ design, which can also be found in its passenger electric cars. It offers advantages for safety, energy efficiency and, by being integrated into chassis structure, helps reduce weight – admittedly, not the highest priority for a bus.

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But while the BYD Dolphin hatchback gets either a 45kWh or 60kWh battery, the BD11 is powered by a colossal 523kWh battery. Its lithium iron-phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry is free from cobalt and toxic metals, and can stand-up to more charge and discharge cycles, helping prolong its lifespan.

When the battery starts running low, the BYD BD11 has an equally massive maximum charging speed of 500kW, which allows it to be fully recharged in less than two hours at the right charger. Plus, with multiple charging ports around the bus, including on the roof, drivers can always access at least one. 

Driving the bus are two in-wheel ‘hairpin’ motors that each produce 201bhp, and up to 600Nm of torque to help on steeper streets. BYD claims these electric motors produce very little noise, are 15 per cent lighter than conventional ones, and take up less space. 

Other technology offered on the BYD BD11 include electronically controlled shock absorbers to help improve ride comfort, and several safety systems like emergency braking and front collision warning, The bus can also receive over-the-air updates, reducing downtime for fleets. 

Would you like to see the BYD BD11 take over from the iconic Routemaster? Let us know in the comments...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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