Test + video: BYD ECB50 – Powerful alternative

With the ECB50, BYD is bringing a powerful alternative to the market, which is usually the domain of diesel or LPG internal combustion trucks. With this test we want to find out if the large electric truck plays a significant role in this segment, and how long does the battery keep the truck working?  

Two years ago, BYD and its three-wheel electric truck ECB18 won the prestigious IFOY Award 2016 to everyone’s surprise. The newcomer from China proved to offer a strong asset with its own lithium-iron phosphate battery. The battery can be recharged without any restraints and has an expected service life that goes beyond the user phase of the truck itself, BYD promises.
Two years later on, the brand is launching a range of new models, including its own reach truck, several tow tractors, pallet trucks and stackers. The biggest (literally) innovation at the moment is the arrival of the 5 tons ECB50, which houses a 810 Ah/80 lithium iron phosphate battery. “An IC-truck-killer”, is how BYD typifies its youngest offspring. Trucks that are usually employed in the concrete or wood industry and will be used almost without stopping.

Spacious foot and workspace

The question of whether the BYD can meet this deployment time is of course also answered in this test. First we look at the truck itself. With its striking blue colour, the large BYD stands out extra well. Add to that the square shape – clearly the result of the dominant battery – and the no nonsense styling, and the picture is complete. When it comes to winning a design award, the ECB is not getting everybody’s votes, but when it comes to functionality and simplicity.
You will notice the functionality when you get on board. The floor height of 875 mm is not low, but thanks to the spacious and deep step with stainless steel anti-slip grid you can step on and off the 5 toner in fairly easily. Once behind the wheel with adjustable column the spacious footwell is noticeable. The acceleration pedal is a little too far to the right and you will notice this especially if you want to apply additional braking via the brake pedal. The automatic braking on the drive motor should be a little more powerful, and that is purely a question of setting.

Importance of good tyres

The seat is good and the armrest with mini levers we have met when driving the smaller truck series in earlier tests. The armrest can be adjusted to the desired position and the levers have a tangible position at 1/3 and 2/3 of the stroke so that you can also dose the mast functions with feeling. The mast itself is as robust as the rest of the truck. Our test sample features a two-part version with no free lifting or side shift. The lifting height reaches a maximum of 3 metres. Unless the lack of a sideshift, the measured blind angle is quite high with 63 cm. It is purely the result of the sturdy design of the fork carriage.
For the test, BYD equipped the ECB50 with the optional high-quality Trelleborg tyres. Compared to the Chinese variant with which the trucks usually arrive in Europe, a good quality of full rubber tyres is really recommended. They make the truck more stable, more secure in its behaviour and easier to steer.

Predictable behaviour

The driving characteristics of the sturdy 5 toner match its appearance. You know you’re on the road with quite a heavyweight, but that’s not a problem for a moment. Thanks to the intuitive and beautiful colour display and instruments we can choose drive settings like High, Medium and Low. We drive the test at full power (H) and economic mode (L). In its most powerful setting, the BYD is also extremely powerful. The sprint power is unmatched in this class. The driving speeds with and without load are at an equal level, only the lifting speed is slightly below average.
These values are therefore also reflected in the productivity that is accurately equals the class average. While working the BYD feels straight forward and predictable, just as you would expect from a truck with this lifting capacity and size.

Energy consumption

Of course, we were also curious about the energy consumption and operating time of the 810Ah/80 Li-FePo battery. Again, the ECB50 scores comparable values with the average of previously tested trucks in this 4 – 5-tonne segment. Both the score in kWh in the test and the calculated performance in kWh per 100 pallets are virtually the same. This means that with the test truck on position H we can achieve a practical operating time of more than 6 hours and 33 minutes and in the somewhat quieter position L we can even work 8 hours and 14 minutes. For most applications in this class ample, but those who really want to use the truck for a long time can then count on the advantages of lithium iron phosphate battery. A quarter of an hour of recharging during a coffee break or half an hour over lunch is enough to extend the operating time by hours. Charging with the powerful 300 A charger is very easy via the side connection. A full charge of a nearly discharged battery is completed in 2.5 hours.

Conclusion

The advantage of the very powerful, totally maintenance-free battery from BYD’s own production is and remains a very important trump card of this brand. You just don’t have to worry about it and it’s always possible to recharge it at any time. We therefore expect that this ECB50 can play a significant role in this heavier segment. The truck also fits the harsh environments with it’s What You See is What You Get looks: big, strong and suitable for its task, in short: no nonsense. However, it is important for BYD to pay attention to the details, and that is actually a matter of fine adjustments. For example, the steering pump motor runs a little too long, the degree of curve control can be a little better and it is important to have the degree of braking on the drive motor adjusted to your own taste by the service technician.
These are the dots on the i that are self-evident for brands with a longer history. Nevertheless, BYD’s objective of offering the ECB50 as a seriously clean, quiet and ecologically more favourable alternative to IC trucks is certainly valuable.

 

Plusses:

  • Strength
  • Deployment time
  • Battery technology

For improvement:

  • Accelerator pedal position
  • Running time of the steering pump motor

(Text and pictures: Theo Egberts, Andersom Testing)

Tags:

Andersom testing, BYD, BYD ECB50, Forklift test, Intralogistics, Lithium ironphosphate battery, Test, Truck test

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