New York to Test Electric Buses

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New York to Test Electric Buses
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 08, 2018 10:21 PM

Governor Cuomo Announces All-Electric Bus Pilot Program to Reduce Emissions and Modernize Public Transit Fleet

MTA will Test 10 New Buses by Proterra and New Flyer with the Hope of Ordering an Additional 60 All-Electric Buses 

New Buses Feature WiFi, USB Ports; Photos Available Here 

Pilot Follows Successful Completion of Study of Best Practice in Electric Bus Market

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the start of a three-year pilot program for 10 all-electric buses with the goal of reducing emissions and modernizing the MTA's bus fleet. Using lessons learned from the initial phase of the pilot, the MTA intends to order an additional 60 all-electric buses. Timing of the larger order will be dictated by the buses' performance during the initial phase of the pilot. The new zero-emission, all-electric buses support environmental sustainability, are quieter than traditional buses, and will feature amenities such as Wi-Fi and USB ports to enhance customer experience.

"As we overhaul and reimagine the MTA, we have an opportunity to not only modernize our bus fleet but to also reduce emissions that impact the environment and public health," Governor Cuomo said. "This new program helps the MTA secure a cleaner and greener future while leveraging the latest in innovative advancements to push New York's transit systems into the future."

In addition to testing the new electric buses, the MTA has ordered 110 new Compressed Natural Gas buses to operate across the Bronx and Brooklyn between now and the first quarter of 2019. The new buses will be the first CNG 60-foot articulated buses, and will refresh a portion of the existing fleet of 781, 40-foot CNG buses, taking the oldest buses out of service and adding capacity. CNG buses are cleaner burning and have lower particulate emissions than diesel buses.

After a study of best practices from systems across the US and around the world, the MTA identified two vendors to manufacture a total of ten all-electric buses, which were leased for test and evaluation over a period of three years in the New York City operating environment. The first of those vendors, Proterra, was selected to provide five over-night charging electric buses which will be operated on routes including the B32 in Brooklyn and Queens. The second vendor, New Flyer, will provide five buses that will be operated on the M42 and M50 routes in midtown Manhattan. All of the new electric buses will feature customer amenities such as Wi-Fi and USB ports that will enhance the customer experience. 

The three-year lease for the Proterra buses includes six depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, Queens, where the buses will be recharged overnight or mid-day. The first leg of the pilot will also include one 'en-route' high power charging station, which will be located at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn, and be used to extend the range of the buses by quickly recharging without having to return to the depot. The plaza is the hub for nine routes that serve Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

The three-year lease for the New Flyer buses includes two depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Michael J Quill depot, Manhattan, where the buses will be recharged overnight or mid-day and to eventually support maintenance & operations type activities. The first leg of the pilot will also include two 'en-route' high power charging stations, one on East 41 Street and the second at Pier 83, Circle Line on West 43 Street. The MTA plans to learn if these two 'en-route' chargers can eventually support 24 hours of operation without having to return buses to the depot.

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota said, "As a hub of business and transportation, New York City is an ideal proving ground for both electric buses and the charging technology. As we continue to modernize our public transit system, the MTA looks toward a more sustainable future by continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and innovating in all of our operations." 

MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim said, "This pilot is part of our overall mandate to modernize our bus fleet: whether it's the latest in electric vehicle technology, state-of-the-art advancements like pedestrian turn warning, traffic signal priority or advanced security systems, investing in our bus infrastructure is a top priority for the MTA."

In preparation for the pilot the MTA conducted a four-year study of global best practices for electric buses. The process included a review of reports from systems in Europe, Asia, and South America; involvement in industry groups such as the Electric Power Research Institute, the Society of Automotive Engineers and the American Public Transportation Association; in-person visits and consultations with transportation authorities in London, Geneva, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Montreal; and testing and inspections of buses from a variety of suppliers.

The pilot program is intended to provide the MTA and manufacturers of electric buses with actionable data on what works best in New York's metropolitan environment. The MTA will use the results from the pilot to refine and develop bus specifications for future electric bus procurements to ensure buses are fully able to meet the rigors of operating in New York City.  As a result, the initial lease and evaluation of buses does not eliminate any other builders from future competitive procurements.

Under Governor Cuomo's direction, New York is attacking climate change by moving the transportation system from high-emission fossil fuels to electricity, provided increasingly by renewable power. Last week, the 2018 State of the State announced that the state would invest funds from the Volkswagen settlement in supporting the transition to electric mobility, including electric buses, and that it would support increasing the number of publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations to 10,000 by 2021.

New York State has the lowest per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the nation thanks, in part, to the fact that two-thirds of the state's residents live and work in the region served by the MTA's various properties, including the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, and MTA buses and subways.

While the MTA produces 2.1 million metric tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions a year, its transit operations actually reduce the emissions by 17 million metric tons annually. The MTA is the first transit agency to quantify such emissions on a regional basis, and does so as part of its ongoing mission to measure all of the benefits of public transportation.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:08 AM

Compressed natural gas as a fuel sounds like a variation on an old theme.  CTA had a sizable fleet of propane-fueled buses in the 1950's and 1960's.  I'm not so sure as to how well battery-powered buses will hold up, especially when the temperatures drop.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Victrola1 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:58 PM

Electric Bus Boondoggle?

How Cedar Rapids, Iowa's grand experiment in electric-powered transit went bust.

Published: 29-Jul-2007

 CEDAR RAPIDS — In a fenced-in lot along a railroad track off B Avenue NW, nine city buses sit in a line, little worn and little wanted....

Has the technology improved greatly over the last decade or so? 

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Posted by erikem on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 1:40 PM


Has the technology improved greatly over the last decade or so? 


Lithium-ion batteries provide a much higher specific energy than batteries available 10 years ago along with substantial changes in power electronics. Battery lifetime is improving as well. OTOH, there are still applications where a hydrocarbon fuled bus is the best solution.

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Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 3:37 PM

If these catch on, that's the end of rails in the street. 

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Posted by erikem on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 3:55 PM

Not necessarily, streetcars/LRV's can haul a lot more people per vehicle. Driver's wages and overhead make up for a good portion of the total cost of providing bus service.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:44 PM

Nothing new here.....

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:53 PM

So what kind of batteries did the Cedar Rapids buses have ?  Also may have been short of mechanics that knew the ins and outs of electric systems ?  They might even be retrofitted with new tech ?

There still is the problem with these new buses that the LI ion batteries may catch fire. If the new buses use high density Li Ion then the fire hazzard can be a problem if proper quality control is not maintained.  Cost of batteries is certainly a factor.

Charging is also a problem.  Recharging a Li Ion especially a high density one just after use when it still is hot has its hazards.  If that problem can be solved then these Buses may work.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:26 PM
Here's a vox article from a few months back. The Proterra bus NYC is looking at set a record for longest distance traveled by any electric vehicle on a single charge and they have fast charge technology similar to Tesla. Also in the article, not the financials are favorable since the lifecycle costs are competitive, but there's a bigger up front cost, but up front costs are more likely to be subsidized. I don't see it replacing rail transit entirely, but Given that LA, Vancouver BC and Seattle have all pledged to go completely electric in the next 10-15 years...
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Posted by DSchmitt on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 11:36 PM

Electric cars, Electric trucks, Electric buses, more Electric trains:   We might have the juice to run all of them if we keep using fossil fuels to generate electricity. Probably will need more power plants.

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 11:00 AM


Nothing new here.....


What's new here is practical battery operation, with no need to spend millions to string wire, or deal with icy weather operation problems.

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Posted by ben on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6:35 PM

This is nothing new as Shenzhen in China just went electric. They purchased 16,000+ buses.

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