A Canadian operator recently set the world record for the longest electric-bus trip with MCI’s J4500 Charge, 56-seat, zero-emission model.
In collaboration with manufacturer Motor Coach Industries (MCI), TRAXX Coachlines set out on a record-setting voyage in British Columbia, from Kamloops to Delta, with a fully electric, zero-emission commuter coach, driving at high altitudes along the infamous Coquihalla Highway.
The four-hour trip was a historic moment for TRAXX, offering a “proof of concept” in showing the new zero-emission motorcoach’s range and abilities. It marked the longest and highest-altitude voyage of an electric motorcoach, departing from Laval Crescent in Kamloops and routed along the Coquihalla Highway to the city of Delta in greater Vancouver.
The trip was 380 kilometers, a 236-mile electric-bus journey from Kamloops to Vancouver, and included an elevation gain of 830 meters, or 2,723 feet, between Kamloops and the Coquihalla Summit.
“Once the coach arrived in Delta, the coach was still left with over 100KM in range left to go, indicating that although the demands of power on the highway were great, the electric coach was ready to take on the task,” the company said in a statement.
The Aug. 30 trip was documented for submission to Guinness World Records. The record is expected to stand since no one has yet attempted distance or climb records in zero-emission luxury coaches.
First electric bus
The purchase of its first electric bus — the no-emission, plug-in J4500 Charge from MCI in Winnipeg — is the start of a move to more battery-electric and fuel-cell buses, the company said.
The battery-electric highway coach is engineered for rugged reliability on all roadway surfaces, designed to torque up fast and power through even the steepest road grades. The three American-made XALT lithium-ion batteries that power the bus allow it to travel smoothly and quietly at highway speeds. The batteries can be fully charged with a four-hour plug-in and also partially recharged with stops and starts while the bus is being driven.
Electric-powered vehicles are more common for commuter transit in cities, and zero-emission intercity travel is just beginning to happen. TRAXX is looking to be at the forefront of this evolution.
“With new groundbreaking innovations becoming the frontier of our future economy, it is important that we continually evaluate how we do business. TRAXX has taken the pandemic to look at how to move forward as we emerge from a trying time in history, and embraced the challenges faced by the travel industry,” TRAXX said in a statement.
TRAXX — with offices in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat — is a charter and tour bus operator with a fleet of 240 motorcoaches.
The day after the record-setting voyage, the TRAXX team — including CEO Matthew Cox — and guests boarded the J4500 again, only this time in the heart of Vancouver for three separate 90-minute tours around landmark locations in the area. At day’s end, the all-electric J4500 coach was found to have used only between 6% and 9% battery life to power each tour, according to the company.
The pandemic has overshadowed an important transformation that is occurring in the transportation industry, which is undergoing a once-in-a-century, fundamental shift.
“While the infrastructure has room to grow to offer a broad application to fully electric group travel options like the coach, the voyage has taught us that alternative fuel and power sources are without a doubt, the way of our future,” Cox said.