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Let the electric bus revolution begin.

Tallahassee, Florida transit authority StarMetro has ordered three EcoRide electric urban transit buses and a single quick-charge station from South Carolina firm Proterra.

The project, funded by a $5-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, will see three diesel transit buses scrapped in favor of a trio of zero-emissions EcoRide units built by Proterra – the firm that General Motors invested $6 million into back in June of 2011. Proterra claims this move will result in the elimination of 260 tons of CO2 annually in the city of Tallahassee.

Saving the most impressive bit of info for last: Proterra's EcoRide bus can recharge from empty to full in less than ten minutes. That's right, in not that much more time than it takes to skim this post, the EcoRide can recharge.
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Proterra Signs Contract with StarMetro to Deliver Zero-Emission EcoRide Transit Buses

NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Proterra, the leading maker of zero-emission commercial transit solutions, has signed an agreement with StarMetro, the transit provider in Tallahassee, Fla., to deliver three new EcoRide zero-emission transit buses and a charging station. The contract stems from a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant received by StarMetro to pursue fast-charge, electric transit buses and charging stations.

"StarMetro realizes that the future of the commercial transit industry lies in zero-emission solutions, and they are on the leading edge by taking steps to future-proof their fleet"

"StarMetro realizes that the future of the commercial transit industry lies in zero-emission solutions, and they are on the leading edge by taking steps to future-proof their fleet," said David Bennett, chief executive officer for Proterra. "Proterra provides the best in the industry for fast-charging battery electric buses with our EcoRide bus taking less than 10 minutes to fully charge. With EcoRide, Proterra can help transit agencies reduce their operating costs with the added benefit of emissions-free, low-noise operation."

Six other major urban transit agencies received similar FTA grants. Foothill Transit in Pomona, Calif., is already operating three EcoRide buses and VIA San Antonio Transit will be deploying its EcoRide buses later this year. The four other agencies that will be issuing requests for proposal are Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in Reno, Nev., King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Wash., Chicago Transit Authority and Fresno Area Express (FAX) in Fresno, Calif.

In addition to its unmatched energy efficiency and overall cost savings, Proterra's clean transit solutions offer California transit agencies a way to address the Zero Emission Bus (Zbus) rule, which requires large California agencies to purchase 15 percent of their annual bus orders as zero-emission buses starting in 2012.

Proterra will manufacture the new orders at its current assembly line plant in Greenville, S.C. Proterra and StarMetro plan to have the buses in service by the spring of 2012.

With manufacturing in Greenville, S.C., Proterra is a leading designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty electric drive systems, energy storage systems, vehicle control systems, transit buses and fast-charging stations. Proterra's systems are scalable to all forms of commercial buses. Its ground-up designs have led to the EcoRide, the world's first full-size, 10-minute charge transit bus. For more information on Proterra and its technology, please visit: www.proterra.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      Doug
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKM8v0Vdasc&feature=related
      ronwagn
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a strong suspicion that it would be much more cost efficient to go with a natural gas bus. How about an analysis? Heavy trucks are starting to go to CNG.
        JP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ronwagn
        If you are going to use CNG for transportation it's more efficient to burn it in a combined cycle generating plant to charge EV's than it is to burn it in an ICE. The Phil CNG home filling station uses over 6kWh's of electricity just to compress enough gas for about 100 miles of range. An EV could go 25-30 miles on that much electricity alone. http://ephase.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-not-natural-gas.html
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The project, funded by a $5-million grant......" For THREE buses???????????????
        JakeY
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Probably includes support equipment, which would actually be amortized better if there were more buses. Works out to $1.7 million per bus. AC transit got $20 million for 4 fuel cell buses. Price tag was $3.2 million each for the buses alone (support equipment not included).
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          ".....and a SINGLE quick-charge station from South Carolina firm Proterra....."
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        "Proterra's TerraVoltâ„¢ energy storage system consists of 54-72 kWh lithium titanate battery packs that recharge in 10 minutes using the company's roof-mounted Fast Fillâ„¢ recharging system." http://green.autoblog.com/2011/06/15/gm-invests-6-million-in-electric-bus-manufacturer-proterra/
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Exactly. It is a very bad example of EV technology. Buses can use a wired system instead of batteries.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Just as big rig trucks cost a lot more than a pickup, a bus costs a lot more than a minivan. That price is rather high for 3 busses and 1 charging station, but small scale experimental test runs do tend to cost more. If tests are successful, a large scale production would have a much lower cost per bus.
        throwback
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Our government is not for it's efficiency,besides it's OPM (Other people's money)
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you want electric buses, then run a set of wires above the streets to power the buses from the wires. We already have buses like that is cities all across the USA. Why do you need batteries for a vehicle that drives a pre-defined loop the way buses do.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Why not also add rails? Trams are even more efficient! But, overhead wiring is neither cheap nor maintenance free, very difficult to install(and aesthetically ugly). Cities who retained their trolley-bus networks, are very fortunate. I am lucky enough to live in the city with the world largest and most complex tramway system. Also the one of largest electric suburban train networks.(oddly enough preserved by an old farmer, turned Premier politician). Sadly, the largest trolley-bus system in the world (Auckland, NZ) was abandoned in favour of diesel buses as late as the mid-80's. Even more tragic, considering NZ is blessed with abundant Hydro and Geo-thermal power.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          San Francisco has a mix - rail trams, commuter rail (BART and CALTRAIN), trolley busses, regular busses, and even cable cars. They all work, but the trolley busses are the quietest and smoothest ride of all. The overhead wires are unsightly, but a system like this one would eliminate many wires. These busses connect to the overhead system only at certain stops.
      winc06
      • 3 Years Ago
      " That's right, in not that much more time than it takes to skim this post, the EcoRide can recharge." Even if I moved my lips it would not take ten minutes to to read that paragraph, which confirms my long held suspicion that Mr. Loveday is a very talented third grader.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @winc06
        Good grief, Wink. Eric love day is allowed a little licence to make his point, must you be so literal?
      atc98092
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drove for Metro Transit in Seattle back in the 80s. I would think the torque electric motors provide would make a far more enjoyable drive. Those diesel coachs were really slugs. Seattle has one area that diesel coachs could not even climb. They have electric trolleys (overhead wires) for the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood. Not to mention how much quieter they would be inside!
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm a big EV fan . . . and because of that, I worry that this is another bad application for EVs. Batteries are low energy density and thus best suited for light-duty vehicles. Excellent for electric bikes. Lots of cool electric motorcycles now. The electric cars are just getting started. But a big massive bus? Buses generally operate for many hours at a time. A massive thing that operates for many hours seems like a bad application. Perhaps for niche applications such as indoor driving where you don't want emissions. But hey . . . I'd love to be proven wrong. Perhaps they've got a battery that really can handle repeated fast charging with little degradation?
        electronx16
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Seems to me that low energy (and the lithium titanate chemistry Proterra uses is definitely a low energy density chemistry) means you need a larger vehicle to store the batteries, i.e. a bus would be ideal. Since city buses stop frequently anyway the fast charge capability means it can run forever.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Just divide by 50-60 passengers, and the economics start making sense.......
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          In an 18 hour day, it could end up carrying a lot more than 50 to 80 passengers - just not all at once!
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I actually thought this was great....until I saw the price tag. The buses only have a 40 mile range, but since theyre on a set route, it doesnt matter. I'm guessing that these batteries are several times more expensive than the cheapies that Tesla uses.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Exactly Dave. It is just not a good use for batteries.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        The lithium titanate chemistry Altairnano use can certainly sustain thousands of fast chargers, and incidentally very low temperatures.
      Jim McL
      • 3 Years Ago
      Over head wires are an expensive and ugly nightmare. Ever watched a bus driver to get back on the overhead wires once he has come off? That is so 1940s. Not such risk with rails but still expensive and ugly. Buses are one of the best applications for EVs or series hybrids, second only to garbage trucks. The constant start stop operation makes best use of regenerative braking. I don't know of any series hybrid or EV garbage trucks yet, but there are many thousands of series hybrid buses in the US. EV buses are the next logical step. Anybody know what a conventional diesel city transit bus costs? I bet it is well into the 6 figures in $, with maintenance and fuel over its lifetime being larger yet. The fast charge station for an EV bus might cost as much as the EV bus in these early low volume days, but that will come down. The payback on an EV bus is much faster in Europe where diesel fuel costs over $10 per gallon, but there is also significant saving on brake linings, which are probably replaced several times a year in city transit buses (compared to several times a month in garbage trucks). The noise and air quality improvement is overwhelming, and difficult to price. There are other companies doing EV buses, maybe not in the US yet.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jim McL
        This system uses an overhead connection, but only at certain bus stops, and it automatically connects and disconnects, so the driver merely drives. With a 10 minute or less recharge, setting up a few strategic recharging stops could mean the busses could run a full day or even 24 hours a day, stopping only to load and unload passengers - and change drivers.
      JonathanBond
      • 3 Years Ago
      the irony of this is that it looks like an over grown dodge charger
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