20 Megacities to Get Soot-Free Buses

 

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Buses in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand, March 2017 (Photo by Khánh Hmoong)

 

Four of the world’s largest bus and engine manufacturers have pledged to make it easier for major cities to purchase buses equipped with low emissions technologies, so they can tackle climate change and toxic air pollution.

 

BYD, Cummins, Scania and Volvo Buses will ensure "soot-free" engine technology is available for purchase in 20 megacities beginning in 2018.

 

The manufacturers will each release through their websites a full product portfolio available in each city and will begin publicly reporting the number of soot-free buses sold in each year.

 

Black carbon, or soot, is a component of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) outdoor air pollution, which is linked to negative health effects and premature mortality.

 

Soot free is defined as any diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter, gas-powered engine, or a dedicated electric drive engine. Any engine that meets Euro VI norms first established in Europe or EPA 2010 norms first established in the United States can be identified as soot free.

 

Less than 20 percent of all buses sold globally meet the definition of soot free, with the vast majority powered by diesel fuel. Older generation diesel technology produces high levels of black carbon emissions, or soot, which are among the most dangerous pollutants for public health and a major contributor to climate change.

 

The cleanest buses today can reduce these emissions by more than 99 percent.

 

Reductions in climate impacts of soot-free buses are achievable with low-carbon fuels and engines that deliver the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The Global Industry Partnership on Soot-Free Clean Bus Fleets is an initiative led by C40 Cities, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), International Council on Clean Transportation, Centro Mario Molina Chile and UN Environment.

 

The commitment was announced at the CCAC's Clean Buses for Clean Air Workshop in Paris in September.

 

The 20 cities involved in the plan are: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bangkok, Thailand; Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Casablanca, Morocco; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Dhaka, Pakistan; Istanbul, Turkey; Jakarta, Indonesia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; Lima, Peru; Manila, Philippines; Mexico City, Mexico; Nairobi, Kenya; Santiago, Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Sydney Australia.

 

"In Santiago, air pollution has been a prime challenge for the last three decades, and buses are the major source for particulate matter and NOx pollution in the city," said Santiago Governor Claudio Orrego.

 

Santiago was the first city in the country to commit to soot-free bus technology. But we can only succeed in creating cleaner air if we collaborate with the private sector to make this happen," said Orrego. "I’m confident with this commitment matched by the actions in our cities we will soon see the rapid end of high polluting buses on our streets."

 

Air pollution, much of it the by-product of emissions from vehicles, causes more than 4.2 million premature deaths each year, according to C40 Cities. The same emissions that poison the air also cause climate change.

 

C40’s research has shown that the world’s largest cities need to reach peak emissions by 2020, with a focus on their transport sectors, if there is any hope of delivering on the Paris Agreement and preventing catastrophic climate change.

 

Today, it is Asian nations that are leading the revolution in low and zero carbon vehicles at scale: 98 percent of global electric bus sales have been in China, and the Chinese city of Shenzhen expects to achieve a fully electric bus fleet of 17,000 vehicles by the end of this year.

 

I welcome the commitment of these bus manufacturers to respond to the desire of mayors to make cleaner, safer engine technologies available to millions of citizens in the global south," said C40 Executive Director Mark Watts. “This is yet another example of cities and the private sector working together to tackle the most urgent challenges that we face."

 

Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk today affecting millions of people, particularly those in our growing cities. This agreement between some of the world’s leading bus manufacturers and some of the biggest cities in the world is an example of forward thinking private and public cooperation," said Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, formerly, the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

Investment in technology, products, and business models that benefit people and our environment isn’t just good for the planet," said Solheim, "it’s good for business."

 

 

Los Angeles Orders 100 New Electric Buses

 

 

America's second-largest bus system in the city of Los Angeles has placed an order for up to 100 New Flyer Xcelsior Charge all-electric buses.

 

L.A.'s new buses are New Flyer's latest design. They feature up to 600 kilowatt-hours worth of lithium-ion batteries, enough for a 230-mile range, says New Flyer.

 

The 60-foot buses are capable of seating up to 120 passengers, depending on configuration. New Flyer offers several variants of the Xcelsior Charge buses in shorter lengths and articulated configurations.

 

The new electric buses are less expensive to operate than fuel-powered buses. Electric buses don't have combustion engines, transmissions, or exhaust systems, which New Flyer estimates saves transit agencies around $10,000 annually per bus on maintenance and repair.

 

New Flyer rival Proterra estimates that a third of all new buses built will be electric within the next couple of years.

 

 

Plug-In Electric Bus Sales Grew 40 Percent Last Year

 

 

Orders for plug-in electric buses have boomed in the past 18 months, with a 40 percent increase in sales from 2016 to 2017, as the technology on offer from bus companies has improved in performance and in price, finds a new report from Navigant Research.

 

In the report Navigant examines the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses, providing an analysis of key market and technology issues, policies, and manufacturer profiles.

 

In the electric drive bus market, costs of key components such as batteries, motors, and power electronics are going down dueto increasing volume. These improvements are helping plug-in hybrid and battery electric buses become more affordable for fleets, and sales are poised to grow across all geographic markets through 2027, finds Navigant.

 

Transit agencies are interested in battery electric buses, thanks to their potential for lower operating costs in addition to having zero emissions and reduced noise," says Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.

 

New orders for electric buses are growing rapidly, although the transition to battery electric buses will take many years, as agencies test the technology and bus manufacturers ramp up production," said Jerram.

 

Despite increasing sales of electric buses, "conventional engines," most with diesel fuel, will continue to be the powertrain of choice for buses in many markets during the next 10 years, according to the Navigant report.

 

The upfront cost for an electric drive bus continues to be an issue, so adoption tends to be focused in regions with government support.

 

In all regions except for China, hybrid buses are expected to continue to capture greater market share than plug-in buses in the near-term, due to the lower price premium, lack of infrastructure investment, and the wealth of real-world operational experience.

 

The report, "Market Data: Electric Drive Buses," analyzes the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses with the following powertrains: gasoline hybrid, gasoline plug-in hybrid, diesel hybrid, diesel plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cells.

 

The report provides an analysis of key market and technology issues, regional policies, and profiles of many vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers.

 

Looking out a little farther into the future, the global electric bus market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 33.5 percent during the period 2017-2025, according to a new report by another research group, the Dublin-based Research and Markets.

 

This report views emerging economies as the places that will offer growth opportunities for the electric bus market during the forecast period.

China was among the earliest adopters of electric vehicles in the world, and now the country wants to increase the number of its electric vehicles, offering several subsidy plans.

 

India, another emerging market, has set a target to deploy over 10,000 electric buses in near term.

 

Finally, a third research group, DeepResearchReports.com, has also just issued its Electric Bus Market Global Industry report. This study focuses on global major leading companies with company profiles, sales, sales revenue, market share and contact information. The marketing, feasibility of new investment projects are assessed and overall research conclusions offered.

 

 

Clean and Quiet Rides to School

 

 

'Jouley,' the Friendly Electric School Bus

 

 

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The Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus, nicknamed Jouley,
2017 (Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America)

 

Thomas Built Buses, a North Carolina-based manufacturer of school buses and subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America, debuted the Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus, nicknamed Jouley, at The National Association for Pupil Transportation conference and trade show in Columbus, Ohio on November 4.

 

Jouley is the first generation of Thomas Built’s electric series production school bus.

 

In addition to the same vehicle performance, safety and comfort as the Saf-T-Liner C2, this new electric school bus has quiet operation and produces zero emissions and even exportable power, according to Thomas Built Buses. Students riding the school bus will be able to charge their computers and other devices directly from the bus.

 

Jouley is named after the joule unit of energy," said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “A joule is equivalent to the amount of energy that is dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. So, we are having fun with Jouley."

 

Thomas Built says its first-generation Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric bus comes equipped with the PowerDrive 7000ev powertrain from Efficient Drivetrains Inc. This powertrain provides 100-160 kWh of battery energy and a 100 mile range and an operating range, with up to 100 miles between charges. There's also an option for a higher range with additional battery packs.

 

Among its features is the PowerSuite vehicle control software and the PowerTracker telematics and diagnostics system that tracks bus locations and provides real-time monitoring of any potential issues.

 

Daimler Trucks North America is committed to developing sustainable mobility with an emphasis on battery electric vehicles," said Roger Nielsen, Daimler Trucks North America president and CEO.

 

DTNA is the industry’s leader in alternative energy propelled vehicles, including a broad line-up of compressed natural gas-powered trucks and buses, and our series of propane-powered school buses and medium-duty trucks," he said.

 

Thomas Built Buses is a member of the Daimler global truck group and draws upon Daimler’s worldwide resources for technology and innovations.

 

We are pleased to debut the first-generation Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus," said Edgerly. “Continuous improvement and innovation are core to both Thomas Built Buses and Daimler, and we are excited to explore additional enhancements and features that can be leveraged with this new electric powertrain."

 

The Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric is scheduled to be in early production in 2019.

 

 

 

Old Blue Bird Flies New Electric School Bus

 

 

Also at the NAPT conference in Columbus, Ohio, 90-year-old Blue Bird Corporation unveiled its new Blue Bird Vision Electric Type C school bus.

 

Blue Bird is an independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today.

 

Blue Bird was awarded a $4.4 million Department of Energy grant in December 2016 to develop a Type C Vision electric school bus.

 

The electric powertrain is supplied by Adomani, with drivetrain and vehicle control software developed and produced by Adomani technology partner, Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.

 

Adomani provides complete zero-emission electric and hybrid vehicle solutions to school bus fleet operators.

 

The latest in the lineup of Blue Bird electric buses integrates the Adomani/EDI drivetrain and vehicle control software and telematics, delivering zero-emissions driving.

 

Blue Bird’s new Type C bus features a range of up to 100 miles, with a full charge time of under eight hours. This is achieved by utilizing a Type 2 charger and a battery capacity of 150 kWh.

 

The Type C school bus announcement follows a recent unveil of Blue Bird’s Type D All American Rear-Engine Electric school bus at the STN Expo in Reno, Nevada in July, powered by the same Adomani/EDI partnership.

 

Blue Bird displayed the Type D RE chassis at the event so that attendees could view the powertrain and battery components.

 

We are excited to reveal our latest alternative-fuel option for the school bus market in 2018," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.

 

We want to offer the broadest range of school bus products in the market and take pride in leading the industry in propane and gasoline-powered school buses. Electric-power is the next step on our journey, and our exclusive partnership with Adomani/EDI will bring both Type C and Type D electric buses to our customers next year," said Horlock.

 

The electric drivetrain technology used in Blue Bird’s Vision and All American RE Electric vehicles has been proven on the road in over 2.5 million miles of driving.

 

Blue Bird pioneered its first electric bus in 1994 for a Southern California demonstration project and has extensive on-road experience.

 

This experience enabled Blue Bird to secure a $4.4M Department of Energy grant earlier this year to develop a Vision Type C electric-powered bus, with full Vehicle to Grid (V2G) functionality.

 

The drivetrain has a proven track record of success in EV applications, and has performed extremely well in multiple testing scenarios," said Jim Reynolds, president and CEO of Adomani. “Add that to Blue Bird’s proven, safety-driven bus design, and you won’t find a better EV bus product out there."

 

Blue Bird hosted an “Electric Ride-and-Drive" event at the NAPT Convention, with over 100 school district representatives in attendance.

 

The ride and drive feedback has been outstanding," said Mark Terry, Blue Bird’s chief commercial officer. “Customers love the quiet ride and the proven drivetrain solution: many are already looking at placing orders as soon as the bus becomes available."

 

Blue Bird manufactures its school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.

 

The new Type C school bus will be available in 2018.

 

 

IC's chargE™ Electric Concept School Bus

 

 

On November 7, IC Bus unveiled the IC Electric Bus chargE™, its new electric CE Series concept school bus developed with its alliance partner, Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

 

The company debuted the chargE at the 2017 National Association for Pupil Transportation Annual Conference and Trade Show, and expects to launch its first unit as early as 2019.

 

IC Bus is an American bus manufacturer that produces yellow school buses and commercial-use shuttle buses primarily for the United States and Canada, with limited exports outside of North America.

 

The chargE was designed to give customers a zero-emissions school bus option while lowering the total cost of ownership and offering user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance.

 

"Our electric school bus is another example of how IC Bus is driving the future of school bus transportation by providing a wide range of powertrain solutions, including electric propulsion, propane, gasoline and diesel," said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus.

 

The new chargE incorporates a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus that is quiet, does not produce emissions, and can be built to address any school bus customer's specific requirements.

 

The range of the chargE can exceed 120 miles, while the powertrain can deliver up to 260 kw - about 349 peak horsepower.

 

"The chargE demonstrates how our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus is allowing us to move even faster into electric powertrains and other advanced technologies, thanks to our ability to leverage both companies' technology investments and components," said Bill Kozek, senior vice president, Strategic Initiatives, Navistar.

 

Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce IC Bus® brand school and commercial buses, among other brands of buses.

 

At the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in September, Navistar and Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group announced plans to develop an electric-powered, medium-duty vehicle for Navistar's core U.S. and Canada market, which it expects to launch as early as 2019.

 

The chargE concept vehicle represents the second electric powertrain vehicle coming out of the alliance built with a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus.

 

"We are embracing technology and innovation that make drivers safer and more satisfied, while providing the school bus industry with vehicles that are safe, reliable and efficient," said Reed. "IC Bus leads the school bus industry in uptime through a powerful combination of manufacturing excellent products and having the industry's strongest dealer network that keeps our customers' buses on the road."

 

Silicon Valley's First Electric Airport Bus Fleet

 

 

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Proterra electric shuttle bus, 2016 (Photo by Caitlin Looby)

 

The San José City Council has approved the purchase of 10 Proterra Catalyst® E2 zero emissions battery electric transit buses and related charging infrastructure for use at the Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), Silicon Valley's airport.

 

This purchase marks Proterra's first airport electric bus deployment in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Scheduled to be placed in service in late 2018, the buses will be designed and built in California at Proterra's Los Angeles County manufacturing facility.

 

"The addition of this all-electric bus fleet reflects SJC's continued commitment to delivering a world-class passenger experience and advancing our community's collective sustainability goals," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo.

 

"These electric buses can help us significantly reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and represent a step towards our aspiration that an electric engine power every shuttle and bus on San Jose's streets," said the mayor.

 

With 12 million passengers annually, SJC currently provides on-site shuttle buses to transport passengers and luggage among the airport's short- and long-term parking lots, consolidated rental car garage and terminals, with a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.

 

Funded in part by a $3.8 million zero-emissions vehicle grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the new Proterra battery-electric buses will replace these older CNG buses, resulting in the elimination 3.1 million pounds of greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions over the lifetime of these vehicles.

 

Since the Proterra electric buses have no combustion engine, riders will enjoy a quieter, smoother, exhaust-free ride.

 

In addition to traveler benefits, the operational cost of electricity, at $.19/mile, is substantially lower than diesel, at $.84/mile.

 

Combining this with improved vehicle efficiency, at 21 miles per gallon equivalent, as compared with five mpg for their current CNG buses, and reduced vehicle maintenance costs, will result in an estimated savings of about $4 million during the 12-year lifetime of these 10 new Proterra buses.

 

"This purchase builds upon initiatives SJC has put in place to address the concerns and interests of the community and the environment," said SJC Director of Aviation John Aitken.

 

These include a 1 MW, 3.4-acre solar array powering the airport's rental car garage and a shift to airside electric service vehicles, reducing emissions from operations.

 

The new electric airport bus fleet is part of San José's Green Vision, adopted in October 2007. This plan aims to transform San José into a world center of clean technology innovation by promoting cutting-edge sustainable practices, and demonstrating that the goals of economic growth, environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility are inextricably linked.

 

Smart Charging for Bus Depots

 

 

To charge e-bus fleets during the night and ensure zero emission transportation during the day, the Swiss company ABB showcased its new HVC-Overnight Charging products and smart charging functionality at Busworld 2017 in Kortrijk, Belgium.

 

From October 20-25 in Kortrijk, ABB displayed its latest solution for charging electric buses, incorporating smart charging features with a modular design, safe and reliable operation and remote service and data management.

 

After 12 years of research and development in EV charging solutions and experience from commercial products in the field since 2010, the HVC-Overnight Charger offers a compact, single power cabinet paired with up to three charge boxes.

 

This means that after the first vehicle has finished charging, the next will start charging automatically, maximizing vehicle availability and reducing the initial investment as well as operational costs.

 

Frank Mühlon, who heads ABB’s Global Business for Electric Vehicle Charging, said, “Policy makers across the globe are focusing on developing sustainable public transit solutions to tackle emissions in and around the most densely populated cities."

 

At ABB we have always been at the forefront of developing state-of-the-art and cost-efficient solutions that meet our customers’ needs and enable us all to look forward to a greener future. The launch of our HVC Overnight Charging products enabling a smart sequential charging is another significant step towards making this a reality.”

 

Designed with scalability in mind, the power cabinets of ABB’s HVC-Overnight Charger can be upgraded from 50kW to 100kW or 150kW at any time.

 

The chargers come with an extensive suite of connectivity features including remote monitoring, remote management, remote diagnostics, and remote software upgrades, enabling "high uptime and fast response to problems," the company said.

 

ABB also displayed at Busworld 2017 the HVC-Opportunity Charging range, which offers highpower automated charging for both single and double deck electric buses from any manufacturer in as little as three to six minutes by using a pantograph coming down from the infrastructure.

 

ABB provides charging solutions as part of its drive to promote sustainable mobility since 2010 and has sold more than 6,000 cloud connected DC fast-chargers around the world for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

 

 

By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)