Electric cars and electric bikes are both great paths toward more low emissions mobility, but the killer app for electric transport just might be electric buses, which can move 40-odd people at a time, in a fraction of the space that those EVs take up. But like many other electric mobility applications, the limiting factor seems to be range and charging time, which, while they’re rapidly improving, have not really hit the levels necessary for mass adoption.
However, with the launch of the latest Proterra electric bus, the range factor no longer seems to be an issue, as the new Catalyst E2 bus hit a massive 600 miles on a single charge on a test track, and can reach 350 miles per charge in ‘real world’ conditions on city streets. With its “unprecedented” Efficient Energy (E2) storage capacity of 440 to 660 kWh, the new model has a nominal range of between 194 and 350 miles, which is plenty of range for a full day’s worth of route driving.
Transit buses, with their carefully proscribed routes and known route times, are an excellent application for electric vehicles, considering that they don’t need to have a widely distributed charging infrastructure, and given that they operate in dense urban areas, where air quality is already under pressure from the sheer volume of vehicles, this clean transport option is the wave of the future. Not only are electric buses said to be more economical to run and maintain (fewer moving parts, less impact from volatile fuel prices, and much lower external costs from air pollution), but they can also offer a quieter transportation option in cities where noise is already an issue.
Here’s a peek at the new Proterra Catalyst E2:
“Proterra’s primary goal has always been to create a purpose-built, high-performance electric vehicle that can serve every single transit route in the United States. Today, with the unveiling of the Catalyst E2 Series, that goal has been achieved. The question is no longer who will be an early adopter of this technology, but rather who will be the last to commit to a future of clean, efficient, and sustainable mobility. With the Catalyst E2 offering a no-compromise replacement for all fossil fuel buses, battery-electric vehicles have now broken down the final barrier to widespread market adoption.” – Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra
The new E2 series has a charge time of between 3.5 and 5 hours, which is plenty short enough, considering the long range of the bus (and that they can charge during the night, when they are out of service), and the company calculates that E2 owners “have the potential to achieve over $450,000 in per-vehicle savings over 12 years.”
According to Proterra, the company’s electric buses have covered some 2.5 million miles to date, effectively displacing some 540,000 gallons of diesel fuel and eliminating more than 10 million pounds of carbon emissions.