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Electric Bus

Discussion in 'Future Vehicles' started by Ludus, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. Ludus

    Ludus Member

    May 1, 2013
    There are several companies in the BEV Bus biz, among the most prominent are BYD and Proterra. None of them appear to have as good a solution as they'd have using Tesla battery packs and modified power train.

    City buses are a great vehicle category for disruption both as pure electrics and with full autonomy. Diesel and Labor are the two biggest operating expenses currently and both would be slashed.

    BYD is going with a permanent battery with good range (180 miles) and hoping to fit recharging into the schedule. Proterra started with a small battery and frequent high power recharging from overhead hookups at stations but seems to be offering a larger permanent battery now as well.

    The Tesla battery drivetrain solution would be 4 85kWhr battery packs linked to 4 drive motors with the packs popped in on the bottom of the bus with the same architecture as the S platform Tesla. That would give the bus about the same range as BYD plus the ability to swap out battery packs in 3-6 minutes in an automated swap station. The station would have two automated swap systems underneath with bus moving forward after the first 2 for the second 2 battery packs.

    Automated pack swapping makes a lot of sense for fleets of buses. A single station could serve a large fleet. Depending on routing and scheduling the fleet would need some excess battery supply but not a 2:1 surplus. There's no issue with pack ownership. If there are multiple commercial customers for the swap station they can program it to keep their battery packs separate.

    I suspect BEVcity buses, delivery vans, mini buses, all have a bright future in an age of autonomous vehicles and HyperLoop. They could all use a common system of Tesla style swappable battery packs, and could operate 24/7 without any human intervention.

    Both Tesla battery packs and Google style lidar based autonomy sensors are expensive but city buses now cost in the $300k range and electrics are trying for 2X to 3X that. Self-driving BEV buses would save on the order of $150K per year in operating expenses so they could pay off higher capital cost in a reasonable time.

    I don't think city buses or other utility vehicles are Tesla's core business but I'd hope some of the relevant companies would come around to seeing the advantages. Tesla's all our patent are belong to you sez they would be open to licensing.
  2. bluenation

    bluenation Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    this is indeed happening, i can give you my city's example

    vancouver, bless its west coast hippie-ass heart, has a government funded public transit company that has test buses that are hybrid. Very very cool, imo, but rather few in numbers. cost is the reason of course.

    at the same time, in certain, dense parts of the city, we have wire-operated electric buses. essentially, instead of heavy, expensive batt, they get the electricity from overhead wires (is there a name for this?). the upside is of course, the tech is there; unlike competent bus batt tech .

    the downside is 1) the infrastructural cost and complexity of those stupid wires, and 2) said stupid wires keep 'disconnecting' so that way too often , the bus driver has to get out and re-align them. really annoying, for both teh impatient pasengers and the poor over-stressed driver.

    our public transit need of improvement, starting from the top management staff. I dont trust them to implement such a drastic change effectively, anytime soon.

    I have a feeling that more efficient asians (kor, japanese) and euros (principally, germans) will "get there" before north americans. I wish them luck.
  3. Lloyd

    Lloyd Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I see all the empty city buses, delivery vans, Fed Ex, UPS etc. go by my office every day and think, "What an opportunity"! These vehicles run on a set route every day, and could be well served with electtric drive units and charging at night.
  4. Model 3

    Model 3 Active Member

    Jul 13, 2014


  5. tga

    tga Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2014
    New Hampshire
    #5 tga, Mar 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
    "Catenary", or "catenary wire"

    What is Catenary Wire? | Amtrak Blog

    Boston's MBTA system uses them on the green line trolleys, sections of the blue line trains (they switch between overhead catenaries and third rails when transitioning above/below ground), and silver line buses (they switch from electric catenary power to diesel along the route). They also have some electric buses that use 2 overhead wires for power.
  6. djplong

    djplong Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Boston has some of them and we call them "trackless trolleys". De-wiring (when the poles disconnect from the wires) isn't much of a problem these days. They only run on a couple of routes in Cambridge but there are some hybrid buses that run part of their routes on overhead wires - most notably the part of the Silver Line that goes from the convention center to South Station (tunnel). The part running from the convention center to the airport uses the diesel engine.
  7. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

    Oct 1, 2014
    San Rafael, CA.
    We have a similar system in San Francisco. Trackless trolleys running on overhead catenary. Since the infrastructure is already in place, not a reason to change until it wears out. Battery technology is such now that any new system should be battery powered and no need for the infrastructure build out.
  8. the dude

    the dude Member

    Jan 2, 2015
    Olympus Mons
    or you could use both

    a battery powered bus with about 100 miles range that can recharge from the overhead catenary where possible

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