For many years, public transportation has been looked at as being a great way to cut down on emissions. Simply having folks ride together on a route has certainly diminished the amounts of pollutants being put out – one bus puts out much less than dozens of cars. As public transportation has moved along, governments have looked to reduce emissions even further.
Transit buses have been one of the leaders when it comes to alternative fuels and hybridization across the country. In fact, as of two years ago, alternative fuel buses and hybrid buses made up 35% of the entire U.S. public transportation bus fleet, a number that has only risen since then. This helps out not just in the area of emissions, but it also reduces the cost of fuel, allowing bus fares to be held down.
With so many buses using alternative or hybrid power, it might be surprising that for the longest time, an all-electric bus was not part of the public transportation fleet across the country. A number of cities have adopted electric buses in the last year or two, with San Antonio, Texas, and Tallahassee, Florida being two of the most high-profile cities. Now, Louisville, Kentucky is looking to join that crowd.
Louisville isn’t taking half-measures – at a recent event, the debuted the first of the ZeroBus fleet, a fleet that is intended to replace the fossil fuel-powered system currently in use. These new buses, built by Proterra, will help to reduce the daily emissions of pollutants. This is particularly important in Louisville, which has been rated as having some of the worst air quality in the United States.
It’s not just local transportation that is making use of electric power either. BYD Motors is bringing two models of fully-electric coach buses to the market, the C9 and C10. Both of these buses have a range of 190 miles, with a top speed of 62.5 miles per hour. This provides great potential for tour bus operators who work in a small range. BYD says it can be fully recharged in 2 hours, so if the necessary charging systems are available, these buses could run long distance tours with stopovers. This would greatly reduce emissions and the amount of fuel used, and possibly could drastically reduce the fuel cost of operating the fleet.
While electric is only one of the alternative fuels out there, it seems to have the greatest promise for bus fleet for the near future. At CGR, we produce parts for a great number of applications including automotive and electronics, and we are excited to see these two applications cross over, to the benefit of our environment. We can only imagine the further developments that will come from these applications, and we look forward to playing a part in it.