Alcoa develops lightweight spaceframe body for BYD

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CHINA Alcoa has developed a new all-aluminum space frame and bus design for BYD which has reduced the weight of its Electric Bus body by 40%, or nearly one tonne, versus steel options. The first two BYD Electric Bus prototypes were launched this week in Changsha City, Hunan Province, China.

In addition to reducing the weight of the bus body, Alcoa forged aluminium wheels and ‘Huck Spin’ fasteners reduced the overall bus weight by 1.2 tonnes in total. The combined weight savings are expected to help improve the overall range of the electric bus by at least 10%. The new bus has a range of approximately 300 kilometers (188 miles) on a full charge.
BYD plans to produce thousands of the electric buses for the China and Southeast Asia markets and will also export the buses globally. Alcoa will be the exclusive supplier of the new bus design as well as sheet product from its Bohai rolling mill in Qinhuangdao, Hebei. Alcoa will also be the exclusive supplier of forged aluminum wheels and fasteners to the project. Additional terms were not disclosed.

“It is certainly impressive that we were able to drop more than 1.2 tonnes from the weight of BYD’s new electric bus compared to steel,” said Jinya Chen, President of Alcoa’s Asia-Pacific region. “However, this design is about more than just weight. The new design is durable, corrosion resistant, infinitely recyclable and expected to increase the range by at least 10% and withstand the rigours of everyday city driving.”

“We are pleased to have worked with a global expert in transportation such as Alcoa as we began work on this new electric bus program,” said Xie Shibin Vice President of BYD Auto Research Institute. “Alcoa’s design and materials combined with our expertise in the market make this new bus the best in the industry in terms of emissions, range, safety and performance.”