Technology

AVM Unveils All-Electric Shuttle Bus with Fast-Charging Capability

Posted on August 16, 2018 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

AVM, a portfolio company of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, powers its shuttles through an exclusive joint venture with China’s Yinlong Energy, which manufactures the proprietary lithium-titanate battery technology.
AVM, a portfolio company of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, powers its shuttles through an exclusive joint venture with China’s Yinlong Energy, which manufactures the proprietary lithium-titanate battery technology.

This past spring, AVM (Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing) debuted its game-changing all-electric, mid-size 27-foot low-floor shuttle bus that can be fully charged in less than 10 minutes.

AVM, a portfolio company of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, powers its shuttles through an exclusive joint venture with China’s Yinlong Energy, which manufactures the proprietary lithium-titanate battery (LTO) technology that has evolved over the years, explains AVM’s CEO Larry Brennan.

“In the past, LTO technology was more expensive and less energy dense than some of the other battery technologies that were being used to power vehicles,” he explains. “Over the years, Yinlong perfected the technology to where it became more efficient and began selling more units, which brought the cost down, so in a relatively short amount of time they dealt with LTO’s two biggest negatives effectively.”

LTO cells can endure more than 20,000 cycles, meaning the batteries’ lifecycle exceeds that of the vehicle. The robust technology takes full advantage of AVM’s 350 kW CCS 2.0 high-powered charger, enabling the vehicles rapid charge time, making it ideal for loop-based routes, including corporate and school campuses, hotels and rental car facilities, airports, and first/last-mile services.

Brennan says one of the big differences with AVM’s all-electric shuttle, compared to other electric buses on the market, is that it is not relying on range to prove its efficiency and usefulness, but rather its quick charge time, due to the smaller size of the LTO batteries. The technology also effectively lowers the cost of the vehicle, putting it more on par with the typical price of a bus.

“If you are talking intercity type service then you need a larger range, which means you need larger batteries that are going to make the bus cost more, because really 50 percent of the cost of an electric bus are the batteries themselves,” he says. “But, if you’re running a service on a two- to three-mile loop, then charging fast is more important than range. And, if you can charge fast, say once every three to four hours, that enables you to use a smaller battery, which enables the vehicle to cost less.”

Currently available in 21-, 27-, and 33-foot lengths, Brennan says that AVM’s vehicle structure and adaptability also make it appealing for a wide range of applications.

“Unlike many mid-sized vehicles on the market this isn’t a body-on-frame, but instead a semi-monocoque, so it’s a unitized design with a 10- to 12-year life,” he says. “And, in addition to being a low-floor, we can also modify the vehicle to fit the customer’s needs. So, we can build this vehicle with one to two doors, in multiple seating configurations, for applications ranging from small shuttle buses to mid-size transit-type vehicles.”

With a door platform that features a minimum 42 inches of clear space, AVM’s vehicle is also ADA-compliant. And, because its electric vehicle, users can save as much as 50% in overall total cost of ownership due to reduced maintenance, fuel, and other costs.

Every AVM vehicle also connects to the company’s real-time, cloud-based “smart” technology. Operators can also select and customize the ridership experience with features such as USB charging and Wi-Fi, fleet management, navigation, route optimization, and remote access data-collection opportunities.

Along with its emergence on the market, AVM also announced it had commitments from customers in the U.S. and abroad for more than 250 vehicles upon its launch.
For now, Brennan says the company is focused on developing a full-range of commercial electric vehicles, including vans, transit buses, school buses, and tour coaches, in a variety of lengths and capacities. He also adds that while AVM is focused on the worldwide market, the company and its partners are able to make the vehicle Buy America-compliant and could possibly look at opening a U.S.-based manufacturing facility in the near future.

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