Saturday, 23 April 2016

News on zero emission buses around the world

Bus companies around the world are moving towards buying zero emission buses. I have found several news reports which I've compiled in to this one article.

First of all I would like to mention that Reading Buses have placed the world’s first order for double deck gas-powered buses.

From Route-One
Reading places world’s first order for gas-powered ‘deckers

Reading Buses has signed an order for the first-ever Scania CNG gas-powered double-deck buses anywhere in the world.

The new N280UD model builds upon the success of the single-deck variant, which Reading was the first company to adopt in 2013.

The five new buses will be bodied by Alexander Dennis with its Enviro400 MMC body.

They will be delivered in October and will enter service on Reading’s Royal Blue route 33 to Tilehurst and Turnhams Farm, operating alongside two diesel versions that are being moved across from the Claret Route following recent timetable changes.

The new buses will feature the latest Reading Buses interior, including comfortable high-back seating trimmed in new materials inspired by cutting-edge automotive trends.

They include at-seat USB charging sockets for mobile phones and tablets, free superfast 4G Wi-Fi and next stop audio and visual customer information systems.

The CEO of Reading Buses has also tweeted the news on Twitter.

It's worth noting here that Reading Buses are a municipal bus company that's owned by Reading Borough Council. There are however a small number of bus services which are still owned by local councils in Britain.

From Scoop NZ
Infratil and NZ Bus lead the way for electric vehicles

Infratil today announced a US$30m deal with Wrightspeed Inc. to supply its first-in-kind, award-winning electric powertrain technology – the Route™ 500, which it intends to deploy on its public transport business through NZ Bus.

California-based Wrightspeed, founded by New Zealand-born Ian Wright who was a co-founder of Tesla, manufactures range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, which are already in use successfully in the U.S.A. in waste management and delivery vehicles. This deal with Infratil and NZ Bus marks Wrightspeed’s entry into passenger transport.

Kevin Baker, Infratil executive and NZ Bus Chairman, said Infratil and NZ Bus were delighted to team up with Wrightspeed to bring innovation through electric powertrain technology to New Zealand. An electric public transport fleet would combine well with Infratil’s investments in renewable energy and enable New Zealand to transition to a clean energy public transport system and play a significant role in decarbonisation and reducing noise pollution in New Zealand cities.

Zane Fulljames, CEO of NZ Bus, said with nearly 82% of New Zealand’s electricity from renewable energy sources, transition to electric-powered public transport alongside private vehicles will deliver a step change in reducing the country’s carbon footprint. As owners and operators of fleet, bus companies have a key role to play.

NZ Bus will receive its first Wrightspeed powertrains by mid-2016, and begin the process of fitting and testing immediately, with a view to having a first electric-powered bus on the road by the last quarter of this year.

“As a major transport operator, we have the scale for investment of the kind this deal with Wrightspeed represents. We are committed to continuing to lead the industry and contribute to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint through innovation,” said Mr Fulljames.

Now let's look at the United States to see their ever increasing fleet of battery electric buses.

LA Metro Receives FTA Grants for Zero-Emission Electric Buses

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has received $8 million in grants from the Federal Transportation Administration that will be used to deploy zero-emission electric buses on the Orange Line and replace the ferry terminal on Catalina Island.

“Metro is appreciative of our strong partnership with the Federal Transportation Administration” said Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “These two grants will allow us to move forward in building out our transit infrastructure in all corners of the County, in a clean, green and efficient manner.”

Metro, through the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will receive $4.275 million to be used toward the purchase of five electric buses and eight charging stations for the Orange Line bus rapid transit corridor.

“I am pleased to have helped Metro’s Orange Line secure federal funding for new buses and charging stations,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “The Orange Line is one of the busiest bus lines in the nation. Commuters in the San Fernando Valley will benefit greatly from an addition to the fleet that can help alleviate crowded buses and waiting times. And with the zero-emission technology, these new buses will help reduce smog and other harmful greenhouse gases.”

In addition to the grant for electric buses, Metro and the city of Avalon received a $4-million grant to replace the existing 5,000-square-feet ferry terminal, built in 1968, with a new two-story 10,000-square-feet state-of-the-art terminal in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island. More than 1.2 million people annually use the ferry terminal.

UTA wins federal grant to buy its first-ever electric buses

The Federal Transit Administration this week awarded a $5.4 million grant to the Utah Transit Authority to buy its first-ever all-electric buses.

UTA said on Thursday that it plans to buy five buses with the money. Three will be put into service on Route 2, which runs through downtown Salt Lake City on 200 South to the University of Utah.

The other two will run on a new University of Utah shuttle route through the center of campus. The University of Utah partnered with UTA in the grant application.

"Providing environmentally friendly public transportation is one of UTA's long-term goals," said Matt Sibul, UTA chief planning officer. "We are happy to put these electric buses into service right through the center of Salt Lake City, where the air pollution sometimes gets trapped and so many people work, live and play."

Alma Allred, executive director of commuter services at the university, said, "It is a direct health benefit to provide electric bus service through the heart of the campus without pumping emissions into the air."

While the new electric buses will be the first zero-emissions vehicles purchased by UTA, it has a fleet of low-emission buses that include 32 hybrid electric and 47 compressed natural gas buses.

UTA said in a press release that each electric bus will save about 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, and the emissions they would generate.

UTA said delivery of the buses, which must now be ordered and built, could come as early as 2018.

The grant was part of $22.8 million awarded by FTA this week to help no-emission and low-emission transit projects nationwide.

SEPTA to deploy 25 electric buses in South Philly
Buses will soon be less noisy and harmful to the environment in South Philadelphia.

The Federal Transit Administration announced on Tuesday that SEPTA will receive a $2.6 million grant, which will be used to buy 25 zero-emission, all-electric buses.

“This Administration is committed to investing in an economy powered by clean transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The vehicles will be used on bus routes in South Philly and a workforce development program will further contribute to the project's economic impact, according to the FTA.

“Thanks to these grants, more transit riders around the country will be able to enjoy the latest in bus technology, resulting in cleaner air and lower costs in the long run,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers.

The Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program will hand out a total of $22.5 million to seven mass-transit providers in the nation.

Federal Transit Administration Provides Funding for 51 Zero Emission Buses and Charging Equipment

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced that it will provide funding for seven different transit properties to purchase 51 zero emission buses. The FTA also announced that an additional solicitation is now on the street that would provide a total of $55 million for the purchase of additional low and no emission buses.

In the FTA press release U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, "This Administration is committed to investing in an economy powered by clean transportation. The Department of Transportation is proud to build on the successful Low-No program to put more American-made, energy efficient buses into service across America."

In total the FTA provided $22.5 million in funding to help the seven transit properties purchase the 51 buses as well as electric vehicle charging equipment. The funding provides for the deployment of zero emission buses that are powered by batteries as well as hydrogen fuel cells.

"The FTA is providing catalytic investment that will help spur the growth of the zero emission bus market. It's very possible that as a direct result of this FTA program by 2020 ten percent of all new transit buses sold will be emission free," said CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel.

CALSTART, a national non-profit clean transportation organization, partnered with the Utah Transit Authority and the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority in Ohio on their successful applications. CALSTART will be assisting in the management of the projects and helping to analyze and evaluate the performance of the zero emission buses.

In addition to announcing the winner of the 2015 competition, the FTA indicated that under the transportation bill, known as the FAST Act, it will provide $55 million a year in funding for Low and No Emission buses. CALSTART is now working with teams to submit applications for the 2016 funding. Proposals are due in May.

This is all of the news stories I could find this week.

It's interesting how zero emission bus fleets are increasing around the world, and with regards to London, I’m looking forward seeing the Red Arrow routes 507 and 521 being fully converted to zero-emission, battery-electric buses, which are being purchased by the Go Ahead Group for £19 million.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus, @CLondoner92

1 comment:

  1. Re: Reading's CNG buses, it will be interesting to see how things pan out over the coming years. From the point of view of tailpipe emissions, although not as clean as pure electric CNG is often seen as being a cleaner fuel than diesel. Whilst not the whole story this is what many people will find to be the most important issue. Hopefully Reading will have better luck with the environmental reliability of the source of the CNG than they had in the Ethanol fuel fiasco!

    I am baffled by what NZ Bus are doing. Surely if the desire is to reduce urban air pollution and validate the technology on real-world urban bus services the first buses to be converted should primarily include those which are diesel powered?

    After all, the trolleybuses are already known to be clean electric vehicles that do not emit any tailpipe air pollution - so converting only them first will provide zero air pollution benefits* and not prove that the technology will work on buses that do not already have electric motors.

    *In fact converting pure electric buses that are powered directly from a national grid where almost 82% of the power comes from renewable energy sources to fossil-fuel hybrid battery operation can only *increase* air pollution in the street environment.

    Philadelphia already has three zero-emissions all-electric bus routes. These are in the northeast of the city and use trackless trolley technology. The south of the city also used to have a small fleet of trackless trolleys and it could be that the new buses will be the same again. If they are, and are also fitted with powerful batteries, then they could be used on some bus routes in battery mode and then rather than recharge the batteries whilst idle in the bus depot they could do this when in service carrying passengers on the trackless trolley routes. This would increase the financial benefits of the investment in new electric buses and facilitate their use on 24 hour schedules - something which is a well proven feature of bus operations in Philadelphia.



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