Management & Operations

Electric buses make strong showing at BusCon

Posted on September 12, 2013

BusCon 2013 bid a fond adieu to Chicago’s Navy Pier, with an unprecedented four electric vehicles on the show floor, which also featured 145 exhibitors — more than any other year.

Representatives from Phoenix Motorcars, BYD, Proterra and Complete Coach Works (CCW) featured their buses on the show floor and explained their products as well as their outlook for the future of electric buses in the transportation industry during a session moderated by Michael C. Lewis from the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Electromechanics.

While the ideal application for all four electric vehicles vary distinctly, each of the representatives reported tremendous interest on the show floor as attendees got to take an up close and personal look as well as schedule demonstrations at their facilities later down the road.

Phoenix Motorcars' Electric Shuttle
Phoenix Motorcars' Electric Shuttle
Phoenix Motorcars’ all-electric vehicle made its debut on the show floor. Perfect for airports or hotels, the 14-passenger Phoenix Electric shuttle is available in multiple configurations and can be customized to specifications. It features rear-wheel drive and can travel up to 100 miles per charge and offers operators payback on their investment in up to three years compared to diesel.

BYD's All-Electric Bus
BYD's All-Electric Bus
Meanwhile, BYD showcased its 40-foot All-Electric Bus, which is currently undergoing Altoona Testing. Brendan Riley, VP, fleet sales, explained it is set to begin production of its orders for Long Beach Transit and the Los Angeles' Metro very soon, with the first models rolling off the line in 2014. It is also poised to offer its vehicles in other sizes in the near future, including 26-foot and 60-foot articulated models.

CCW's ZEPS bus with WAVE technology
CCW's ZEPS bus with WAVE technology
CCW featured its Utah Transit Authority 40-foot all-electric bus using WAVE wireless advanced vehicle electrification. The wireless system works when one charging pad is attached to the bottom of an electric bus and another is planted in the road at a key point along the transit route. After the bus stops over the pad in the road, the induction charge sends power to the battery via a wireless transfer that can travel across several inches of airspace. A few minutes later — depending on the size of the battery — the bus is ready to resume its route.

The CCW bus is set to begin service in the fall.

Proterra's EcoRide
Proterra's EcoRide
Meanwhile, Proterra featured its EcoRide buses. There are approximately 17 of Proterra’s bus currently on the road in several cities across the U.S. The bus on display at BusCon was set to take the road following the show, with company officials providing demonstrations every weekday in different cities across a two-week stretch.

In addition to the electric bus offerings, BusCon featured a total of 65 vehicles in the show floor. It also included a top-notch education program covering everything from university transit to paratransit and a awards program honoring both mid-size bus users as well as the top five users of clean-burning propane autogas.

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