Clean Energy and Transportation News for September 2017
PROTERRA CATALYST® E2 MAX SETS WORLD RECORD AND DRIVES 1,101.2 MILES ON A SINGLE CHARGE(September 19, 2017)
STEREOTYPE: A full-size electric bus would necessarily have a short range. A vehicle that big can't possibly be practical as an electric vehicle, except for uselessly short routes for a company wishing to greenwash itself. In other words, conventional wisdom would say an electric bus can't be used for regular transit routes, who why even try.
Proterra just proved all those stereotypical ideas to be completely wrong. Driving a heavy-duty electric bus for 1,100 miles is an astonishing feat. It's doubly astonishing considering the previous record, 1,013 miles, was set by a light-duty passenger bus 46 times lighter than the Proterra Catalyst E3 used in this record-setting run.
Proterra appears to have a winning combination on their hands. Battery prices are falling rapidly, and electric buses have a significantly lower fuel cost than diesel buses. Between those two factors, electric buses could quickly become the most financially pragmatic choice for transit fleets. Falling battery prices mean Proterra should be able to rapidly drive down the cost for their electric buses. The low fuel cost will make these buses financially attractive to transit operators, and a lower up-front price will only increase that attractiveness.
On the heels of this announcement Proterra is claiming a nominal 400 mile range for the Catalyst E2. This is well beyond the typical driving range required for intra-city transit routes, and is closer to what's required on long-distance bus routes.
Also today, Proterra announced a battery partnership with LG Chem. Given what LG Chem has done to enable long driving range for many electrics, this record is surely due in part to this partnership with LG Chem.
PROTERRA AND LG CHEM ANNOUNCE CO-DEVELOPMENT OF NEW BATTERY CELL(September 19, 2017)
Like almost every other announcement of a long range electric vehicle, Proterra is announcing a partnership with LG Chem to supply batteries. Proterra's new battery pack manufacturing plant is capable of producing 500 megaWatt-hours of battery packs per year. With the new battery technology, Proterra just drove one of their buses for over 1000 miles on a single charge, an astonishing distance for a vehicle this big.
Ford, Virginia Tech, go undercover to develop signals that enable autonomous vehicles to communicate with people(September 13, 2017)
'Audi on Autopilot Future: The Audi Vision of Autonomous Driving'(September 11, 2017)
Audi's Elaine electric SUB coupe, and Aicon four-door 2+2, are meant to show that highly automated driving is around the corner. The Aicon has no steering wheel, no pedals, and can (within a designated area) automatically drive itself to a parking space in a parking garage.
2017 Honda Clarity PHEV achieves class-leading all-electric range(September 11, 2017)
Plug-in Hybrid's with significant range are rare - specifically, the BMW i3 REX, the Chevy Volt, and now the Honda Clarity PHEV. Most PHEV's have a paltry electric range of 20 miles or less. The longer the range, the less often the car owner will have to hit the gasser engine, and the more often they can drive on electricity. The 40 mile threshold is enough to cover most driving since the average driver travels less than 40 miles a day on average. With a 47 mile electric range, the Clarity PHEV should handle an even higher percentage of drives on electricity.
The recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts says this car has a 6 kW on-board charger that would give 20-25 miles range per hour of charging. This is higher power than other PHEV's.