When you think about electric vehicles with which to set distance records, transit buses probably aren't the first things that spring to mind. Yet, that's exactly what Proterra used to set a new high-water mark of 700-miles-in-24-hours recently and, upon some reflection, it makes a whole lot of sense.
Ray LaHood had a lot on his plate when he was the US Secretary of Transportation. Whether it was distracted driving, cash for clunkers or troubles with Toyota, LaHood was at the helm of the DOT during a tumultuous time. Now that he's been away from the post for half a year, he's ready to get back into the swing of things by joining the board of directors at electric bus manufacturer Proterra. Proterra is the company behind the EcoRide fast-charging electric bus.
While the city of Long Beach, CA, could pit BYD and Proterra electric buses against each other in a race along the city's famed Long Beach Grand Prix route to determine the winner of the municipality's new bus contract, we know that's not going to happen. Instead, the city is debating its decision to award China-based BYD a $12.1-million contract for 10 business, reviewing the decision late last week, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.
This fast-charging bus maker got some fast money, as Proterra has raised $23 million in a recent round of equity financing. Proterra, which says it makes the world's first battery electric bus built especially for fast chargers, has tripled orders of its EcoRide model within the past year. For the record, other companies are working on fast-charging electric buses.
Jay Leno's Garage is teaming with electricity now that the Proterra Ecoliner electric transit bus has arrived. The lithium-titanate-powered Ecoliner could well be the type of bus that will revolutionize mass transit. It incorporates elements of Formula One, tank technology and regenerative braking that captures 30 percent of energy that would otherwise be wasted.
The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State just had the chance to put the Proterra electric bus through some fuel economy tests in Altoona, PA and it was there that the Altairnano-powered people mover generated some head-turning miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) numbers. After going through three different duty cycles, the worst result returned was 17.55 MPGe, while the best was 29.23 MPGe, earned during the "commuter" phase which featured just one stop and speeds of up to 40 mph.
Burbank Bus has announced that they will be trying out the world's very first plug-in hydrogen fuel cell hybrid transit bus (say that fast 5 times), the Proterra HFC35, beginning this Spring. Now, we've had all-electric buses, turbine-powered hybrid buses and even a plug-in school buses gracing the pages of AutoblogGreen before, but we must admit that this is probably the first bus with this exact configuration.