City buses are already the more eco-friendly way of getting around compared to driving in a car. Many cities have begun switching over to hybrid vehicles or alternative fuels in an effort to make transit even more sustainable. And a new bus model might make the change from gas-powered vehicles even easier for city transportation authorities. Proterra’s latest electric bus design can travel 350 miles on a single charge, as WIRED reports.
The new Catalyst E3 model gets far better mileage than the electric cars currently on the market, at least according to the company’s tests. The Nissan Leaf, for instance, only gets about 100 miles per charge at best, which might be fine for the average driver, but isn’t great for a city bus that is expected to run back and forth along its route all day. BYD, the Chinese company leading the way in electric buses, only gets a reported 161 miles per charge on its 40-foot models.
In a test, Proterra’s new model logged 600 miles on one charge, and the company claims that its nominal 194- to 350-mile capacity can easily serve the daily needs of almost every U.S. bus route. Tesla, the company that’s virtually synonymous with electric cars these days, is also planning on debuting electric buses one day, but no models have been revealed yet.
Philadelphia already started rolling out some all-electric buses this year with the help of a federal grant, and New York City has already completed a successful pilot study, though the city’s transit system hasn’t decided to make the switch to the more expensive fleet permanently yet. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Los Angeles County began implementing a five-year plan to become the first 100 percent electric bus fleet in the country this year—no doubt swayed by the fact that the area is home to BYD's first U.S. factory.
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