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Proterra battery bus - impressed

 
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timecruncher



Age: 67
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Proterra battery bus - impressed Reply with quote

While attending the Motor Bus Society Spring meeting out on the left bank back in April, we stopped at the Pomona Transit Center to take a look at the Proterra electric bus in regular service on Foothill Transit.

In a word: Impressive!

Yeah, it is a little over-the-top with those gargantuan mirrors and has too much windshield, but after riding, it is a worthy vehicle. A full charge will get you up to 35-40 miles of service with multiple stops and a/c on. They're running it on Foothills' 261 route, which is 18 miles round-trip. Three have been delivered, and two were in service on the route. The third was ours to ride and photograph for a couple of hours! The Foothills Transit people (Veolia employees) are understandably proud of these. Three or four more are on the way later this year.



Kinda looks like a modern Thermo-Matic vent above the destination sign, ya think?

Ride quality was equal to a 4517, only much quieter. The a/c did the job well and with a full load of fat bus enthusiasts on board it got down the road as good as any silly CNG diesel would.



It takes but 10 minutes for a full charge. As the operator eases into the parking bay, the computer takes over and eases the bus up under the charging pylon:



How 'bout them fenders?

Okay, at $1.3 million a copy, not counting the substation and charging thingies, these are a bit pricey for transit systems outside of California, where they print their own money. These things are built in North Carolina, and a 40-foot version is in development. With battery technology improving all the time, the goal is to have one that will operate for a couple of hours and up to 100 miles or more on a charge.

TARC is looking into getting some of these to replace our tacky trolleys and diesel Gilligs on downtown circulator routes. Notable statistic: A diesel/hybrid will get maybe 5mpg on a good day. The Proterra gets the fossil-fuel equivalent of 19mpg. With low-sulphur diesel getting up in the $4.00 per gallon range, this bears watching. We'll see if our grant application gets approved, meanwhile!

It sure was nice to see something besides NABI and NFI stuff that is so common in the Los Angeles area...



timecruncher
I just flew in from LA and boy are my arms tired...
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RailBus63
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 1063

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting - thanks for the recap.

My only reservation about these new technologies is that they will follow the same path as the hybrids, which have never come down much in price. I think full-scale adoption of these newer technologies will remain stunted until they can become cost-competitive over the life cycle of the vehicle with a diesel or CNG bus, especially now that the federal government is starting to push natural gas heavily as the fuel of choice for truck and bus fleets. We'll see.

Jim
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Bill D




Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 331
Location: Waterbury, CT

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Proterra battery bus - impressed Reply with quote

timecruncher wrote:
The a/c did the job well and with a full load of fat bus enthusiasts on board it got down the road as good as any silly CNG diesel would.


Perhaps operating a bus with a full load of fat bus enthusiasts on board should be a required part of Altoona testing.

Quote:
With battery technology improving all the time, the goal is to have one that will operate for a couple of hours and up to 100 miles or more on a charge.


I would think that for a system like this to become practical, the operating range would have to be extended to several hours before recharging. On a system such as ours, even 10 minutes for recharging every couple of hours is a luxury we could not afford. Also, I suspect that many communities would not like the sight of the large charging boxes hanging from poles.

I do find the system intriguing though, and it will be interesting to see how it works out over time.

Bill
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 979
Location: Queens, NY

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting technology! I think only ten minutes of recharging for a two hour operation is quite impressive....much better than electric powered automobiles currently provide.
Seeing that overhead charging system leads me to thinking that perhaps it wouldn't take much of a modification to design these as dual mode type buses that can run under wire 'downtown' while at the same time recharging, and then under battery power further out....
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ripta42
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Age: 39
Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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Location: Pawtucket, RI / Woburn, MA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive. It's definitely one of the better-looking modern buses out there, too.

The headlights appear to be Dodge Charger surplus. The taillights also look like they're automotive-sourced, but I can't place it.
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ripta42
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Proterra battery bus - impressed Reply with quote

Bill D wrote:
Also, I suspect that many communities would not like the sight of the large charging boxes hanging from poles.


Most communities don't like the sight of gas stations, or bus depots, or signs, etc.
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JimmiB



Age: 75
Joined: 19 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Re: Proterra battery bus - impressed Reply with quote

ripta42 wrote:
Bill D wrote:
Also, I suspect that many communities would not like the sight of the large charging boxes hanging from poles.


Most communities don't like the sight of gas stations, or bus depots, or signs, etc.


Just as most tourist destinations love the bus loads of people but don't want the buses.
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