A 40-foot (12.19-meter) electric bus from Proterra Inc traveled 1,101.2 miles (1,772.21 km) at low speed without recharging, cruising to a new electric vehicle range record, the California manufacturer said on Tuesday.
Bus and truck companies are beginning to launch electric models, typically for light- and medium-duty tasks. The new technology often carries a high price, though, and a major challenge is creating vehicles with acceptable range at a competitive price.
A typical Proterra bus costs around $750,000 compared with roughly $500,000 for a typical diesel bus, chief commercial officer Matt Horton said in an interview. Proterra has lower operating costs but must convince customers that the higher sticker price is worth paying.
Proterra developed the battery for its bus with Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. The bus maker has begun assembling battery packs at a new factory in Burlingame, California. It sold 190 buses last year and is on track to “far exceed” that this year.
The Catalyst E2 Battery Series enables a direct replacement of diesel, CNG and hybrid buses, establishing a new, high-performance category. Vehicles with the E2 battery configuration can accommodate the toughest routes with highest daily mileage, without charging on-route. E2 battery configurations can be fully charged at the depot with industry standard J1772 CCS plug-in chargers.
Proterra Catalyst vehicles with the XR Battery Series can accommodate transit routes with low to medium daily mileage, without the need for on-route charging. For longer routes or higher daily mileage, charging can be supplemented during layovers with the Proterra on-route overhead charging system. In-depot charging is easy – simply plug the Catalyst™ XR into a standard J1772 CCS plug-in charger.
Specialized Proterra Catalyst Fast Charge (FC) batteries enable maximum run time with minimum dwell time, making them ideal for predictable transit loops, 24-hour service and short-distance, circulator routes. With an incredibly fast 500kW maximum charge rate, the Proterra single-blade overhead fast-charge system can fully recharge Catalyst FC vehicles on-route in 5-13 minutes. FC-configured buses can also be charged in-depot via a standard J1772 CCS plug-in charger.
Proterra is rapidly advancing the emerging category of battery-electric transit. They built the Catalyst® from the ground up exclusively as an EV, with a durable, life-extending composite body. They developed advanced, modular battery storage and tied it to a proven electric drivetrain and state-of-the-art energy delivery systems. Then they proved its performance with rigorous federal testing.
The result is a vehicle that is defining the future of clean, quiet transportation with:
· An acceleration from 0 to 20 mph in 6.8 seconds
· The ability to take steep hills with a gradeability of 15.5%
· A curb weight of 26,000-33,000 lbs., the lightest vehicle in its class
Proterra’s high-performance drivetrain maximizes power and efficiency to meet the challenges of continuous revenue service. It consists of only two moving parts, a 220kW peak permanent magnet drive motor and 2-speed auto-shift EV transmission, and requires no oil or other liquids. So along with making it remarkably easy and inexpensive to maintain, it weighs in at less than one tenth of the weight of a traditional diesel drivetrain.
Proterra’s composite bus body was envisioned, prototyped, tested and developed by veteran materials engineers with more than two decades of experience in the automotive industry. The unique, carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material maximizes vehicle life while minimizing repairs and maintenance. Unlike steel bus frames, which experience significant corrosion throughout their 12-year life-span, Proterra’s composite bus body is impact- and corrosion-resistant, prolonging its useful life by many years.
The Proterra bus body is also much lighter than its steel counterparts, enabling the Catalyst to be the lightest-weight vehicle in its class. This minimizes the wear-and-tear of public roads and maximizes vehicle performance. A high power-to-weight ratio contributes to the best acceleration in the transit bus market—from zero to 20 mph in less than seven seconds.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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