Kansas City International Airport first in U.S. to deploy electric shuttle buses

WRITTEN BY: Joe McBride

Everyone knows the single terminal coming to Kansas City International Airport in 2021 is going to be a game changer. But local travelers don’t have to wait that long to tout landmark improvements at KCI. In October, BYD, North America’s largest electric bus manufacturer, delivered four battery-electric 30-foot coach buses – the first electric buses for airport passenger service in the United States.

The buses will serve as parking lot shuttles, bringing passengers to the airport terminals. BYD customized the buses for KCI to include luggage racks.

“The Kansas City Aviation Department has long been at the forefront in implementing the latest in environmentally friendly programs and vehicles,” said Kansas City Director of Aviation Pat Klein. “In 1997, we deployed a fleet of the first compressed natural gas mass transit vehicles in regular use in Kansas City. We are one-upping that milestone by purchasing these electric buses to further lessen fleet emissions.”

This move is one of several initiatives designed to make KCMO operations environmentally-friendly. The City is dedicated to promoting policies that encourage the private sector to preserve and enhance environmental quality and provide regional leadership for the public, private and non-profit sectors on environmental issues.

“BYD is proud to work with Kansas City International Airport to provide these four buses with zero tailpipe emissions, giving airport passengers a cleaner and healthier ride,” said BYD Heavy Industries Senior Vice President Macy Neshati. “Kansas City International Airport will enjoy cost savings by operating the BYD battery-electric buses because they reduce fuel and maintenance costs by tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the bus.”

BYD offers seven battery-electric coach and bus models and has deployed more than 137 battery-electric buses to customers across North America. In response to high demand for its advanced technology buses, BYD recently completed an expansion of its Coach and Bus manufacturing facility in the City of Lancaster, Calif. This expansion will allow the company to build up to 1,500 battery-electric buses annually once operating at full capacity.