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Power Transportation Technology

Electric Bus Sets Record With 1,101-Mile Trip On a Single Charge (engadget.com) 156

A startup called Proterra has set the world record for the furthest distance any electric vehicle has managed before recharging. The Catalyst E2 Max electric bus drove 1,101.2 miles on a single charge, beating the previous record-holder, a one-seat experimental car nicknamed "Boozer." Engadget reports: Not surprisingly, a bus can hold a much larger battery than just about any regular car. The Catalyst E2 Max carries 660kWh, or nearly nine times the capacity of a 75kWh Tesla Model S. Also, Proterra was driving in optimal conditions, with no passengers, no stops and a gentle test track. It'd be another story with a fully-laden bus wending its way through a city. Even so, that kind of range is very promising. In many cases, it could likely handle a long bus route for several hours -- it might only need to recharge at the end of a driver's shift. While it could take an hour or more to top up even with Proterra's fast charging system, bus drivers are no strangers to changing vehicles. The first E2 series buses are due to reach Los Angeles streets later in 2017, so it might not be long before you can witness this longevity first-hand. The company released a video of the record-setting feat on YouTube.
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Electric Bus Sets Record With 1,101-Mile Trip On a Single Charge

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  • by fourfaces ( 5065727 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @09:23PM (#55229145)

    With good regenerative braking, adding passengers would not shorten the range too much.

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @09:26PM (#55229157)

    since their ownership is less diverse.
    Having battery-packs fully charged at at bus depot and then a system where they can be swapped out quickly for recharged one's.
    Until personal cars will have such a system - forget it!

    • That *might* be economically feasible.

      Certainly more feasible than the submission's apparent suggestion of purchasing multiple electric busses to replace each single gas-powered bus, anyway. Sure, cities will have no problem buying enough busses to have two charging for every one on the road. Why don't people think things through?

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @09:58PM (#55229275) Journal

        Sure, cities will have no problem buying enough busses to have two charging for every one on the road. Why don't people think things through?

        There was a time when practically every big city in the US had an all-electric public transportation system. And it was profitable. It was killed off by a conspiracy involving Rockefeller, Standard Oil and General Motors. They were even convicted of the conspiracy in court.

        http://americanhistory.oxfordr... [oxfordre.com]

        https://www.theguardian.com/ci... [theguardian.com]

        • by AaronW ( 33736 )

          San Francisco is one of the few cities that still has electric buses powered by overhead lines along the routes. Electric buses are perfect for those steep hills.

          • Except neither buses nor pantograph lines can handle the steepest hills in sf

            • Except neither buses nor pantograph lines can handle the steepest hills in sf

              If you mean Hyde Street near the marina, the cable car can easily handle that one. But the electric buses seem well able to handle some decent hills even when fully loaded.

        • by havana9 ( 101033 )
          The Italian carmaker Fiat made trains and trams since 1917 [wikipedia.org].
          some trolleybuses were made too.
          What happened in the '60 with the mass marketing of cheap cars made possible to people to rely less on public transportation, so the urban sprawl was possible. Expanding the tramway and railway network is slower and more costly than make a new road. Adding a bus route was easier because in the '60 the bus engines become efficient so using a bus instead of a tram was feasible, so public transpotation switched from e
        • From your first link:

          Although the investigation ultimately found that GM broke anti-trust laws, the central conspiratorial charge—the provision of poor transit service in order to increase automobile sales—was not the basis of the investigation. In fact, most transit historians and other scholars generally disregard the conspiracy theory.

          Almost every big city today has electric mass transit in the form of subways. Buses became popular because they aren't tied to fixed overhead wires.

          • Almost every big city today has electric mass transit in the form of subways.

            Most American cities do not have subways.

            Buses became popular because they aren't tied to fixed overhead wires.

            The buses were electric before they were not.

            That's not what your link says

            That's an interesting caveat that you often find in major publication articles about this issue. "It wasn't really a conspiracy". I guess General Motors and Standard Oil were buying up mass transit systems and destroying them because they just wer

            • by tomhath ( 637240 )
              Not every city, just most of the big ones. And General Motors selling buses hardly counts as some kind of evil conspiracy; that's a major part of their business.
      • Sure, cities will have no problem buying enough busses to have two charging for every one on the road.

        You mean one charging for every 10 on the road. Recharging should only take an hour or so, so if the battery can keep the bus on the road for half a day it will just need to stop for an hour, then be back in use. In practice, of course, all municipal bus systems have different loads throughout the course of the day. They buy enough buses to cover their needs during peak transit usage times, and then send most of them back to the depot for cleaning and repair during non-peak times. So as long as the bus batt

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      The system for personal cars is pretty obvious, charging points in every carpark, even public street parking. Think of them as all points of revenue. So your town has a parking metre in the street, well, make it into a charge point and charge more, heh heh. Supermarket carpark instead of being a loss beyond attracting customers (there are a reason carparks are in the front of stores and not the back and note, if the store was near the street they could advertise product much more readily), add in charging i

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        In the UK it's fairly common for supermarkets to have a petrol station attached to them, with the cost of fuel subsidised by the shop to the point where they sell it at a slight loss. Some are now adding charging points too, which are typically free.

        • by Dthief ( 1700318 )
          US too...CostCo has done it for years. Now Walmart has joined the game, and others are doing it in less dense areas (where the realestate isnt a limiting factor)
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Not to forget, employers doing it, bit rough to charge staff but as part of the salary package, free charge top up, pretty cheap with great employee satisfaction. It really is a great opportunity to turn every car park in a commercial location into a revenue point.

        • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

          Supermarkets in the UK (or anywhere else in the EU for that matter) do not sell the fuel at a loss. To do so would be an illegal cross subsidy. They do however make wafer thin margins on fuel sales.

          This was covered a couple of decades ago when the regular garages complained and the Office for Fair Trading investigated.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @03:12AM (#55229995)

      Until personal cars will have such a system - forget it!

      Why? A modern fast charger will give you close to a full charge in just double the average time it takes already to fill up at a gas station.

      And you rarely if ever need a full charge to get to where you're going. If you're doing a road trip you may actually want to spend longer than 10min at the charger too. Your kids are probably screaming at you that they are hungry.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Er, no. Filling my old car with petrol took 5 minutes (give or take). Filling my Leaf to 80% from zero takes about 30 minutes. It can take longer when it's too cold or too hot.

        I'm pro-EV but we need to be honest with people how it all works. Rapid charging time is not likely to drop significantly.

        • Er, no.

          Given I work at a company that has actual statistics on how long each customer spends in the forecourt I will counter with Er, Yes.

          I'm pro-EV but we need to be honest with people how it all works. Rapid charging time is not likely to drop significantly.

          Yes, I guess the fact that your Leaf isn't compatible with a modern fast chargers, and the fact that Porsche already has installed, Telsla has already demonstrated and is installing, and a EU consortium is planning to roll out 400 chargers which are well over double the fastest thing Telsa currently has on the market means that nothing will change. Good to know.

        • Filling my old car with petrol took 5 minutes (give or take).

          Don't forget the time required to drive to the filling station. Whether or not that's significant depends on your location and route, but it almost always adds some time.

      • by bgarcia ( 33222 )
        It only takes me about 5 minutes to fill up at a gas station. That will give my car 300-400 miles of additional range.

        Supercharging a Tesla takes 20-30 minutes, and will only get you about 200 miles of additional range.

        We're not there yet. Elon Musk has hinted at much faster superchargers in the near future, but right now it's not comparable. It makes long distance travel *possible*, but it's not yet as convenient as in a combustion vehicle.
        • A few years from now we will have fully autonomous electric cars. They behave like Uber/Lyft today, only no driver.

          When they need to power up, they plug in. Automatically.

          They do this after every trip. They know where the plugs are. It is safe and idiot-proof. No smell. No human interaction needed.

          Beats the heck out of them having to drive to a gas station.

        • It only takes me about 5 minutes to fill up at a gas station. That will give my car 300-400 miles of additional range.
          Supercharging a Tesla takes 20-30 minutes, and will only get you about 200 miles of additional range.
          We're not there yet. Elon Musk has hinted at much faster superchargers in the near future, but right now it's not comparable. It makes long distance travel *possible*, but it's not yet as convenient as in a combustion vehicle.

          The average person spends more than 5 minutes in the forecourt.
          EV charging is not primarily done at the station. Stations are for top-ups and destinations. If your Tesla spends more than 20min at a supercharger in Europe that means you're doing an international roadtrip. For the few minutes extra you'll always get to your destination as is currently. But the Tesla is also not the fastest charging system out there, and Telsa themselves have already teased a charger with more than double the power output curr

        • We don't need cars with huge batteries like tesla, nor should we want to move towards a world of swapping batteries. A proper hybrid car with a modest 10-25Kwh electric battery and a 10-20 gallon secondary gas engine with seamless switching will be the best path for most auto owners.

          Most days, the gas engine shouldn't be used except for brief additions of extra energy for big hills or speeds at or above 75MPH. Moderate sized electric battery can charge fast enough and provide 40-100 miles of range easily

      • I hear this all the time and it's so disingenuous. I drive a large truck and it takes *maybe* 3 minutes to fully gas it up, actual fuel transfer time. There is no way any charger is giving any vehicle significant range in 6 minutes (yet). Second, proponents always seem to have a reason to extol the virtues of the much longer stops it will require to refuel your vehicle.

        Just admit that it's massively inconvenient and time consuming compared to ICE vehicle refuelling. It needs to be addressed prior to
        • and it takes *maybe* 3 minutes to fully gas it up

          Average time spent on a forecourt is around 7-8minutes. We own over 20000 petrol stations and got these numbers by surveying arrival and departure times from security cameras.

          There is no way any charger is giving any vehicle significant range in 6 minutes

          Nope, but 14-16minutes on the forecourt with a current supercharger will get you around 100miles which will always get you to your destination short of doing a longer roadtrip. Tesla's supercharger also isn't state of the art anymore. Porsche's is, and Telsa as well as Ultra E are about to put similar chargers all over the place that w

    • Having battery-packs fully charged at at bus depot and then a system where they can be swapped out quickly for recharged one's.

      Battery swapping a fixed points on the route MAKES sense.
      Specially since you also need to swap the bus driver.

      Several jurisdictions, at least here around in Europe, severely limit how much a professional driver can drive in 1 single go and how much time he can total per day.
      Means that the driver has mandatory breaks that he needs to take on a few set points on the road (e.g.: on the terminus, or at a big station in the middle like the central railway station) and that he also needs to be replaced behind the

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      This bus did over 1000 miles on a single charge. The *AVERAGE* bus does about 100 miles a day. This is not a bus replacement more an intercity coach replacement.

      In bus mode there is no need whatsoever for replacing the battery packs anywhere provided you can charge them up overnight. The need to use an internal combustion engine in a "bus" has been obsoleted for some time now.

      In the UK the longest journey you can make without starting to drive around in circles to deliberately taking longer diversions is th

    • Buses that go so long distances usually make 45 minutes break somewhere so passengers and the driver can eat, go to the bathroom etc.
      That is plenty of time to recharg to minimum 75% of a full charge, provided the infrastructure is available. Which will be available pretty quickly, or the bus makes it stop 100miles earlier or 100miles later.

  • the bus name is Maxist.
  • Also, Proterra was driving in optimal conditions, with no passengers, no stops and a gentle test track

    ... The company released a video of the record-setting feat on YouTube.

    Sherman Williams has decided to raise the ante. It is going to release a video of the 200 gallons of paint drying.

  • by DesertNomad ( 885798 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @09:44PM (#55229223)

    you realize it's in binary

  • by Jodka ( 520060 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @10:04PM (#55229303)

    Electric buses are not particularly better than diesels on non-stop trips but have a great advantage in stop-and-go driving, so the summary is kind of odd how it plays those advantages up and down the other way around. I guess the point is that electrics are catching up on range now also.

    With conventional busses, every stop to pick up or drop off passengers means more brake wear. Brakes are ablative and a big maintenance expense. Also, the bus is always idling and consuming fuel whether it is moving or not in stop-and-go traffic. In comparison, Electric buses use regenerative breaking and do not idle, advantages over diesels which increase with more frequent stops to pickup/drop off passengers and at intersections in the city. Neither of those special advantages come into play in one long, straight, uninterrupted drive; it's the comparison which shows the diesel bus at its relative best.

    So busses are a special case which make electrics especially advantageous. In fact, projections are that for shuttle busses at airports, which drive short cyclical routes, even super capacitors would be practical; Because the route is a short cycle, even with a low charge capacity, the bus passes the charger before the capacitor depletes. Charging is almost instant and can occur when the vehicle is otherwise stopped at the terminal to drop off/pickup passengers, adding no additional delay. Also, the number of charger cycles of a super capacitor is much higher than a lithium battery.

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @10:52PM (#55229427) Homepage Journal
      You are referring to a Capabus [wikipedia.org].
    • With conventional buses there is no method to refuel while the bus is en route. Not that it needs it, a typical bus does not seem to stop for fuel often. An electric bus could be recharged with overhead wires along common routes and/or stops. That should make the bus more viable and not add too much to the expense or limit it's ability to change routes to match traveler's needs, traffic patterns, construction, etc. An electric trolley is a common sight still in some cities, and I recall that in those ci

      • If capacitors work better then batteries in this case then use them. Perhaps a combination of capacitors and batteries would work.

        Batteries have better energy density... they can store more energy. Capacitors can be charged and uncharged extremely quickly (like for breaking). You need both.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Batteries can already outlast humans, so stopping to charge is no problem. In Europe commercial vehicle drivers, including bus drivers, need to take regular breaks during which the vehicle can be charged. It's strictly enforced too, vehicles have devices fitted that monitor for compliance.

        Obviously it's a little different in the US where busses apparently do insane 12+ hour runs non-stop, or in Europe where they have multiple drivers for long distance routes. However, the vast, vast majority of busses do su

    • Not just that, electric buses also have better acceleration so they don't slow down the general traffic. And they are quiet.

    • Another reason why buses may be a better use case for electric vehicles is that they can generally carry more overhead electronics equipment. That means they can carry a larger super-capacitor, which in turn can capture more energy from the regenerative breaks (most vehicles only capture about 15% of that energy).
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Wouldn't a long-haul bus be a good candidate for a small generator? It's not 100% emission free, but it would be less emissions than a full-scale engine and could potentially add a lot to the battery range, plus it would seem like buses would have ample room to fit it.

      • Regenerative braking captures far more than 15% the energy from braking and supercapacitors don't provide any significant improvement on that.

        Even smaller battery packs like on the Chevy Bolt can handle the energy from 50kW of braking force and that is more force than a bus would typically use. Larger batteries on a bus could handle much higher levels of energy from braking.

        The added complexity and cost of supercapacitors is as poor an idea as hauling around an inefficient generator (range extender).

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      With conventional busses, every stop to pick up or drop off passengers means more brake wear. Brakes are ablative and a big maintenance expense.

      Not to mention they are loud and shriek y as all get out, and contribute to urban noise pollution. Regenerative braking is practically silent by comparison - what you hear mostly is a gentle whine from the motor and power electronics.

      If it was just brake wear, noise, and maintenance, then probably few people would care. The real improvement is that you are no

    • Electric buses are not particularly better than diesels

      The problem with you humans is that you only consider things "better" if they benefit yourselves. Electrics are better because they don't pollute the environment for every single other living creature on the planet.

  • If you can make it last 8 hours, you can use it all day. I still remember when laptops only lasted about 2 or 3 hours without plugging it in. This bus one looks promising.

    Sorry lads I got the example using a car the other way around.

  • The power draw required to charge one bus let alone a fleet would be insane.
    • I doubt that there's a solution for this problem other than plugging buses directly into nuclear power plants or some shit like that. Pretty sure we don't have the technology to accommodate large power draws at this point in history. I mean, they might need to wire up more than a 120V drop to get the job done! That's crazy talk! No way we could run power lines that could handle that. We'll have to stick with petroleum which requires no infrastructure to support it.

  • Batteries for vehicles the size of a truck or a bus are not economical, simply because the relationship between cost and capacity is about linear for batteries (and about ~x^(2/3) for chemical fuel storage).

    Put in a smaller battery and a turbine or fuel cell optimized to deliver the average power the vehicle uses.

    Also, how safe are large batteries in accidents? Buses are usually full of people. Which is one reason why they're usually powered with Diesel fuel and not gasoline, LPG or CNG.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      Yeah, thing is electric buses are about air quality in our cities. Further in cities most buses actually do around 100 miles a day, so a 1100 mile range is enough for a whole day of driving and more. My guess is most of these buses will be delivered with a lower capacity battery pack.

  • Any wheeled vehicle, perhaps.

    I seem to remember some airplane that flew right around the world powered solely by solar panels.

    And don't get me started on trolley buses, trams and electric trains. I assume that what the summary really meant was self-contained, wheeled vehicles.

  • The frequent stops of buses at predetermined locations may be an opportunity to recharge the battery at these locations (half a minute of charging every five minutes amounts to 6 minutes of charging per hour), perhaps eliminating the need to make a long stop for a full charge.
  • Drive it 1101 miles back again, two points...

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @09:05AM (#55231195)

    What is your name?
    What is your quest?
    What is the range and velocity of a laden electric bus?

  • My test track is entirely downhill.

  • Hammond wears a hat. James drives very slowly. And I drive the longest range electric bus..... in the world.

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