Endera, a technology company specializing in commercial electric vehicles, charging stations, and software solutions, delivered 18 all-electric passenger shuttles to ACE Parking, for use at the San Diego International Airport. By the end of 2020, the entire 29 all-electric vehicles will be delivered, making it the nation's largest deployment of an all-electric fleet at a U.S. airport.
ACE Parking, manager of the airport's shuttle fleet, purchased 29 all-electric shuttle buses to convert the existing LPG (liquified petroleum gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) fleet to all-electric, achieving sustainability goals of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and their longtime operating partner, ACE Parking. Sixteen of the vehicles within the fleet will be large, high occupancy shuttles based on the Ford F-550 platform, which are the first of their kind to be electrified.
The vehicles were purchased in part to help the San Diego Airport comply with California's Zero-Emission Airport Shuttle Regulation, which was adopted in June 2019 by the California Air Resources Board. The new regulations require airport shuttle operators to transition to 100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies. Airport shuttle operators must begin adding zero-emission shuttles to their fleets by 2027 and complete the transition to ZEVs by the end of 2035.
The all-electric buses are using a lightweight composite body, built by Diamond Coach, that maximizes range efficiency over other traditional steel and aluminum designs. Utilizing a Lightning Systems' electric drivetrain, the EV shuttles can achieve up to 130 miles of range on a fully-packed 26 passenger bus and can charge in as little as two hours and 15 minutes, making it the most efficient shuttle of its size on the market in the U.S.
The new vehicles feature Endera's AI-driven telematics platform to automate records and reporting, as well as provide a new dispatching console for their management team to carry out operations. Each vehicle will be equipped with an automated passenger counting system, which uses cameras and AI algorithms to accurately count passengers and provide detailed reports to the management team. Part of the technology was designed to help combat the spread of COVID-19 by including an infrared camera that reads passengers' temperatures as they board the bus, alerting the driver of an ill passenger. Endera's energy management system also will allow fleet operators to easily and efficiently monitor and manage their vehicles charging stations to minimize energy usage.
Endera's vehicles also offer the Wayne Go app, available on iOS and Android, which allows airport riders to see in real time where buses are relative to their location, next bus estimated arrival time, seat availability, and give riders the ability to provide feedback of their experience.
"With decreased down-time and economic efficiency of electricity, the San Diego International Airport will save up to nearly $20,000 a year, per vehicle versus LPG or CNG vehicles. Additionally, these vehicles will reduce around five million pounds of Co2 emissions at the airport annually," said Kevin Hernandez, managing director, ground transportation, for ACE Parking in San Diego. "The incredibly quiet and smooth ride will lead to decreased driver fatigue, and riders will enjoy a more serene experience onboard."
By the end of 2020, an additional 29 Endera all-electric vehicles will be in operation in San Diego County at an off-airport parking facility and a commercial office campus.