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With the increasing demand for sustainable transportation, more and more transit agencies are considering turning their fleet electric. The benefits are clear: zero emissions, reduced pollution, and lower operating costs in the long run. But with so many different types of electric vehicles to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which one is right for your transit agency. In this blog, we will explore three types of electric vehicle buses that are gaining popularity in the industry and the pros and cons of each option.
The battery electric vehicle bus is perhaps the most well-known type of electric bus. As the name suggests, it uses a battery pack to charge, typically made of lithium-ion batteries. There are various charging methods available, such as a plug-in, inductive, or conductive pantograph, and the charging can be done either on route or overnight.
One of the most significant advantages of BEVs is that they are zero-emission vehicles without any pollution. They also have a range of up to 100-150 miles on a single charge, taking around 2.5-6 hours to charge depending on the method used.
However, the amount of energy consumed by electric buses varies depending on a few factors, including the route's topography and whether the air conditioning or heat is running. A test showed that 18-meter electric buses used between 1.65 and 1.84 kilowatt-hours per kilometer traveled, taking into account the energy consumption of air conditioning.
Pros of BEVs
Pros of BEVs
The hybrid electric vehicle bus uses both diesel and electricity to power the vehicle. When the driver brakes, the hybrid system captures the kinetic energy and stores it for later use when required for propulsion. The next time the bus accelerates, the stored energy is fed back to the driving wheels, reducing the load on the engine and saving fuel.
There are two types of HEVs: parallel and series. In a parallel hybrid bus, the combustion engine and the electric motor are connected to the transmission independently. During stop-and-go traffic, the electric motor provides power, while the internal combustion engine powers the transmission at highway speeds. Both the electric motor and the combustion engine power the transmission during acceleration. Through a process called regenerative braking, energy lost due to braking is recovered and utilized to charge the battery.
On the other hand, a series hybrid bus is exclusively propelled by an electric motor. The internal combustion engine is connected to an electric generator that converts the energy produced by the engine into electric power, which powers the motor that turns the wheels. The generator also recharges a battery pack that provides supplemental power to the motor. Since the engine is not connected to the wheels, it can operate at an optimum rate and can even be switched off for short periods of time for a temporary all-electric operation of the bus.
Pros of HEVs
Cons of HEVs
The hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle bus is a hybrid electric bus that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with batteries or capacitors. In this hybrid architecture, the fuel cell provides all of the energy for vehicle operation, while the batteries or capacitors can provide peak power to the motors to meet rapid acceleration and gradients. By using a fuel cell in conjunction with a battery, the size of each can be optimized for a given route.
One of the major benefits of FCEVs for transit agencies is that they only produce water and heat, making them even cleaner than BEVs. They also have a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge, and they can be refueled in as little as 7 minutes at a typical hydrogen refueling station. FCEVs are also quieter than diesel buses, reducing noise pollution in urban areas.
Pros of FCEVs
Cons of FCEVs
Transitioning to zero-emission buses (ZEBs) is not only environmentally responsible, but it is also a cost-effective solution for transit agencies. As electric bus technology continues to improve, more and more transit agencies are turning to electric buses as a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuel-powered buses.
When transitioning to electric buses, transit agencies need to carefully consider their specific needs and choose the type of bus that will work best for them. They also need to optimize the performance of their electric buses to ensure that they are reliable and cost-effective. This is where TransTrack's ZEB module can help.
TransTrack's ZEB Module provides transit agencies with key insights into the performance of their electric buses, including battery life, charging times, and energy consumption. With this information, agencies can optimize their routes and charging schedules to ensure that their electric buses are running at peak performance. The ZEB module also provides real-time alerts and notifications, allowing agencies to quickly respond to any issues that arise. With the help of TransTrack's ZEB module, agencies can gain the necessary knowledge to optimize the performance of their electric buses and ensure a successful transition.
Schedule a demo with our team of transit experts to explore the ZEB Module.