Although electric buses may seem like a thing of the distant future, there are several transportation systems in the US that are using this technology. In fact, TransIT could see three electric buses and the supporting infrastructure as early as next year, pending funding.
TransIT has requested funding for three zero-emission propulsion system all electric buses. City transit buses with start and stop driving patterns provide an ideal opportunity to deploy an energy efficient, regenerative-braking enabled all-electric transit bus. Apart from a significant reduction of green-house gas emissions, an electric bus does not use any fossil fuel, reduces maintenance costs and also provides a noise-free ride for passengers.
Using the EPA’s MPG equivalent formula, the all-electric bus is estimated to achieve a MPG equivalent of 16.04. This is four times more efficient than the conventional diesel buses. Without a diesel engine or transmission, in addition to the significantly lower maintenance costs and elimination of fuel cost, additional benefits include elimination of coolant and oil change and filter change cost, longer brake pad life and elimination of waste disposal cost. Preventive maintenance would focus on the suspension and braking systems.
In some cases, the bus isn’t constructed from scratch. The manufacturer refurbishes a previously used transit bus, originally used in a diesel application, into like-new condition, complete with an all-electric powered drive-train system. This further reduces cost and environmental impact.
As far as the infrastructure is concerned, an electric charging station will be placed in the existing TransIT “yard” to charge the 12 lithium-ion batteries per bus. The trickle charger can re-charge a bus to 100% in three hours although faster charging applications can be installed to re-charge in 45 minutes. The buses have a range of 120 miles per charge which will be factored into daily TransIT route assignments. Retired batteries from the electric buses can also be used at the charging station, in addition. After the useful life for a battery, approximately six years, the remaining cycles can be used to charge the new batteries.
More information on the refurbished electric bus can be found at www.completecoach.com. Learn more about TransIT operations at www.frederickcountymd.gov/transit and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/transitservicesfrederick.