Wednesday, 17 February 2016

USA: AVTA to serve entirely with Electric Buses

Over in the United States of America, north of Los Angeles County in the State of California, Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) have decided to buy 85 electric buses manufactured by BYD in order to make its entire fleet zero emission.


Los Angeles-based BYD Motors will supply up-to 85 all-electric buses to Transit Agency

LANCASTER, Calif.—Feb. 11, 2016— The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has taken a major step toward becoming the first 100 percent electric public transit fleet in the country, demonstrating leadership in the transit community along with its commitment to promoting emission-free transportation.

During a special meeting today, the AVTA board of directors voted to award BYD a contract to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five year period. The historic announcement was made during a special event that followed the meeting at the AVTA facility and was attended by elected officials, dignitaries and community leaders. Los Angeles-based BYD Motors, a global leader in developing electric transportation, will build the up to 85 buses for AVTA at its manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California.

"I'm pleased to chair a transit agency as forward-thinking as AVTA that also has the political will to do something no other transit agency in the country has done yet - go all-electric," said Marvin Christ, chairman of the AVTA Board of Directors. "There are multiple benefits to electrifying our bus fleet, from creating jobs and eliminating harmful air pollutants, to reducing dependence on foreign oil. These benefits will be seen at the local, regional, state, and national levels. It's really a win-win."

Under the order from AVTA, BYD Motors will build and deliver a variety of all-electric bus models including a 40 foot low floor transit bus, a 60 foot low floor articulated bus, and a 45 foot commuter coach. All 85 buses will have a range of more than 160 miles on a single battery charge. AVTA is also installing a wireless charging system to extend the fleet's range to ensure the electric buses will be able to serve the agency's longest rural routes.

"BYD Coach and Bus is proud to partner with AVTA on its groundbreaking decision to completely electrify its fleet," said Stella Li, president of BYD Motors. "With more than 6,000 electric buses deployed world wide and 90 million miles of dependable service already accumulated, we know that our technology will help AVTA save money and improve local air quality. Pure-electric powered transportation is no longer in the future - it's here now. I hope other transit agencies in California and across the country take note and follow the example AVTA has set today."

AVTA is anticipating a cost savings as a result of electrifying its fleet. Over the lifetime of the new electric bus fleet, the transit agency forecasts it could save more than $46 million compared to an all- diesel bus fleet, equivalent to $46,000 per bus per year in savings. And, by reducing dependence on foreign oil imports, AVTA will no longer be subject to oil price volatility for its bus fleet. This will help create greater stability for budget forecasting for the fleet manager - an important factor for a public agency.

The agency expects to take delivery of 29 electric buses within the next 12 months and is working to secure additional grant funding from the Air Resources Board to purchase another 17 buses.

"This is a historic day for AVTA which has been working diligently to secure grant funding to purchase these state-of-the- art zero-emission vehicles," said Len Engel, executive director of AVTA. "We are proud to be the first transit system to adopt a goal of '100% Green in 2018' and we look forward to leading the nation toward a new alternative in public transportation."

Additional benefits AVTA will see as a result of electrifying its entire fleet include:
·         Noise Pollution Reduction: noise pollution will be reduced by 50 percent, making it a more pleasant ride for bus operators and transit passengers.
·         Emissions Reductions: AVTA's all-electric fleet will provide elimination of CO2, NOx, PM10 and PM2.5, thereby improving air quality and positively impacting human health.
·         Safer Work Environment for Technicians: The electric batteries are safe, thermal runaway proof, non-toxic, and maintenance free. There are no diesel or diesel emission fluids needed for bus maintenance, providing a safer and healthier working environment for vehicle technicians.

This is great news that they've decided to make their bus fleet battery electric in order to reduce emissions.

What is AVTA?

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority serves a population of over 450,000 residents of the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. AVTA’s total service area covers 1,200 square miles and is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino Driver County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West. The fixed route service area consists of approximately 100 square miles.

AVTA contracts with Veolia Transportation, Inc. to provide Fixed Route and maintenance function and contracts with American Logistics for its Dial-A-Ride bus operations, effective January 1, 2012. The current Veolia contract expired on December 31, 2011 and new contracts were awarded to Veolia Transportation and American Logistis in October 2011.

AVTA operates a network of 12 local transit, four commuter routes, and two supplemental school routes during the week. Local bus service is operated on weekdays from 5:45 a.m. to 12:39 p.m. Weekend service is operated from 6:45 a.m. to 8:10 p.m. Commuter routes operate Monday through Friday from 3:45 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.

AVTA operates a fleet of 71 buses for transit service with 43 buses for local service and 28 for commuter service. The current peak requirement for local service is 34 vehicles and commuter service is 20 vehicles.

Veolia Transportation is now known as Transdev and they have been awarded a 2 year extension to their contract which happened on August 25th 2015.

Now what about London? Well, Go Ahead London (A London Bus Operator) has ordered 51 battery electric buses manufactured by BYD and Alexander Dennis at the cost of £19 million. They will be operating on Routes 507 and 521 and are expected to enter service by 27th August 2016. Currently a small number of electric buses operate on route 507 and 521 which are the BYD eBus and the Irizar i2e electric buses.

London Buses route 312, operated by Arriva London, is fully served by nine single deck battery electric buses which are the Optare Metrocity. They have been in operation since September 2015.

Another London Bus route is H98 which operates with four battery electric Optare Metrocity buses; they are contracted to London United. The rest of the route H98 fleet is operated with single decker diesel buses.

I also have to mention that Route RV1 has a near full allocation of single deck Hydrogen powered VDL SB200's with Wright Pulsar body work. Recently TFL ordered another two hydrogen single deck buses which are manufactured by Van Hool. London Buses route RV1 is operated under contract to Tower Transit.

Unfortunately there is still no news regarding the world’s first battery powered electric double deck bus manufactured by BYD.

Recently TFL approved another order to extend the New Routemaster fleet to 1,000 buses which are double deck diesel electric hybrid buses with 3 doors and 2 staircases. Is it now time for TFL to invest more on zero emission buses which can be hydrogen or battery powered electric buses? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Overall, I have to congratulate to AVTA for their decision as this has encouraged me to inform my many readers in the UK of this exciting new development in public transport.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus for all the latest news in the world of transport at  @CLondoner92

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First image taken from AVTA's Twitter post.

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