Alternative Fuel News: November 1, 2019 edition

BYD (Build Your Dreams) introduced two electric vehicles at BusCon 2019 in Indianapolis. The C9M Motor Coach is the first 40-foot battery-electric motor coach of its length in the industry, BYD said. It has a range of up to 200 miles and a charging time of 4.5 to five hours. It can be equipped with 49 seats or 45 seats with a restroom.

The 30-foot K7M-ER transit bus is 101.6 inches wide, allowing for the placement of a wheelchair ramp at the front of the bus rather than toward the back. It has a range of up to 185 miles, 20 seats and a charging time of 3.5 to four hours.

“We listened to what our customers want in developing these two models,” said Bobby Hill, vice president of BYD Coach & Bus. “We have the broadest range in the industry and are able to offer solutions to fit the needs of our customers.”

Two Michigan school districts will receive Thomas Built buses powered by Proterra electric vehicle technology for a five-year pilot program. The project will be funded by the state of Michigan with its proceeds from the Volkswagen settlement arising from its fraudulent design of emission controls on diesel automobiles.

The project will utilize Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley electric school buses powered by Proterra technology and Proterra 60kW charging systems. In a press release, Proterra stated that Michigan is the first state in the U.S. to dedicate its first round of VW settlement funding to support transitioning school bus fleets to battery-electric. DTE Energy and Hoekstra Transportation are partners in the pilot project.

Ann Arbor Public Schools will receive four buses, and Roseville Community Schools will receive two buses along with Proterra chargers. The schools will share their findings with the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation and use the buses as learning laboratories as part of their focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority of Washington, D.C., has ordered 110 Xcelsior buses from New Flyer, including 75 40-foot buses fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). Since 2001 New Flyer has delivered nearly 1,400 hybrid-electric, battery-electric and CNG buses to the authority.

Laval, Quebec, accepted its first battery-electric New Flyer Xcelsior Charge bus into service in August. The Societe de transport de Laval, which provides more than 19 million bus and paratransit rides annually, has ordered 10 of the buses to launch a zero-emission bus line in 2020.

BC Transit Corporation of British Columbia has ordered 69 compressed natural gas Xcelsior buses from New Flyer. BC Transit is transitioning its 1,200-vehicle fleet to low- and zero-emission power and plans to become fully electrified by 2040.

The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority based in Vancouver launched an electric bus pilot program in September with two New Flyer Xcelsior Charge transit buses. The two-and-a-half-year project is a step in the authority’s goal of operating a 100-percent-renewable-energy fleet by 2050.

Federal agencies face challenges in incorporating alternative fuel vehicles into their fleets, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported to Congress. In fiscal year 2017 the agencies spent $10.5 million to purchase 373 electric sedans and minivans and about 4,500 hybrid electric sedans while acquiring more than 16,000 sedans and minivans.

The Department of Energy, which oversees compliance with Congressional mandates, told GAO that three challenges face efforts to reduce the petroleum usage and greenhouse gas emissions of federal fleets.

“First, while hybrid and electric vehicles can offer reductions in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, the costs of these vehicles and their charging infrastructure make it challenging for agencies to acquire them on a large scale.

“Second, agencies also stated that a lack of fuel and infrastructure availability limits agencies’ use of alternative fuel. Third, agency officials stated that a continuing need for larger vehicles limits the number of low greenhouse-gas-emitting vehicles agencies can acquire.”


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