BYD’s California-built electric bus has passed an important step before its commercialization can begin.

The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center under the Larson Institute and sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), has completed the FTA’s “new model bus testing program” of the first 40-foot (12 meter), all-electric bus.

According to BYD, its ebus has successfully completed the Altoona structural integrity testing program in 116 track days with full reports due to be published soon.

The Altoona test – essential for buses which are used in the US – is an internationally recognized tough testing regime. The bus under test was built at BYD’s new plant in Lancaster, California.

“The Altoona staff were professional and accommodating guiding BYD through the process and ensuring all testing met the Federal standards,” said BYD Motors President Stella Li. “The FTA were supportive of our efforts to ensure that this vehicle, the first 40-foot, all-electric bus to be tested met the North American standards and was properly tested within the guidelines. BYD will commence shortly with the testing of the BYD 60-foot Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) style all-electric bus at Altoona, another first for the transit industry. We believe that our 40-foot bus is one of the most structurally sound transit buses on roads today. Yet like all manufacturers, our engineers found ways, through this testing, to make improvements to ensure the sort of long-lasting quality BYD has become known for.”

BYD explained its electric bus has no transmission, clutches or drive train but has instead two in-wheel-drive motors powered by batteries on board the bus. BYD sees this recent accomplishment as the first of many, in what will be a long and productive relationship with the Altoona Bus Testing and Research Center.

The 40-foot BYD Electric Bus is the first of three different size options that will be offered to the United States for 2014-2015 deliveries.

The next BYD bus to be tested at Altoona will be the 60-foot articulated BYD All-Electric bus.