Electric Bus record: 310 km with battery to spare!

By | June 25, 2013
Admit it, this is rather enticing: this electric bus set the new range record during testing in Poland, crossing 310 km and having 31% of it's battery remaining at the end. Sure, the bus was driving empty and during non-congested traffic conditions, but nonetheless it is an impressive feat. I certainly hope we see more such buses on the streets!

/via +Roland Mösl

BYD eBus Sets Range Record at 192 Miles; Had Plenty of Juice to Spare (w/video)
Moreover, the bus had 31% of its battery capacity left, so it would have been possible to drive, in optimal conditions, about 430 km/265 miles. But you must remember that the record-setting eBus was drivien in the night, without passengers and at slow speeds (less than 34 mph on the average).

25 thoughts on “Electric Bus record: 310 km with battery to spare!

  1. Juaquin Anderson

    There was one in the 90s that was supposed to carry a car 50 miles on a single charge. No hybrid, just a flywheel battery.

    They had incredible power density. ..and charge efficiency.

    The company tried to compete with le as d acid batteries and lead acid batteries just got cheaper, and they went out of business.

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  2. Juaquin Anderson

    I like flywheel energy storage for installation as part of the electric distribution grid. It doesn't use dirty chemicals that deteriorate. It can be extremely good charge efficiency at wide range of charge rates. It may last almost forever if magnetic bearings are used because that would eliminate wear parts. Stationary installation doesn't need such high power density, and simple materials are fine.

    It could power a bus or car, if the design was refined, and power density were pushed to the limits.

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  3. Per Siden

    +Juaquin Anderson, batteries can be a problem, and variations in power too. But both solar and batteries are constantly improving. And the fuel is free and in most supply during the hours of the day when it is needed the most.

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  4. Per Siden

    Thanks +Roland Mösl. 95% is what ABB specify for their charging, I do not know about this type of induction charging that Volvo is using. I should expect a bit less. But how much can deteriorating batteries, say at the end of their expected life time,  and other factor worsen the yield? In sub-optimal conditions, how bad can it get?

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  5. Juaquin Anderson

    Batteries are an issue with pv. It can get complex. Not only is charge efficiency a problem, with the battery life, but the sun provides power at variable rate throughout the day and seasons.

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  6. Roland Mösl

    I understand the energy consume is measured at the plug. So the energy consume should include charging efficiency.

    At such large systems, I would expect over 95%.

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  7. Roland Mösl

    +Per Siden 120 kWh / 100 km is at a modern CCPP power plant 440 g CO2 / km which equals 16.4 liter Diesel / 100 km.

    Buses in city traffic are usual beyond 40 liter / 100 km.

    So even with a gas fossil power plant, they are far cleaner and cheaper.

    It's a typical application of the 2 phase change
    1.) Change it to electric power
    2.) Make electric power cleaner

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  8. Per Siden

    Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity to charge batteries to power a bus would be sub-optimal to say the least, environmentally and most likely a very uneconomical option for the bus company too.

    As solar PV is reaching grid parity we are seeing more and more companies, notably the likes of IKEA and Walmart, generating their own electricity. I wouldn't be surprised to see some public transport companies follow suit. They use plenty of electric power for their commuter trains, trams and subways already and could probably save quite some money that way. It's difficult to make your own diesel, but these days anyone can generate his own electricity. And wouldn't electric buses fit neatly into that strategy?

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  9. Juaquin Anderson

    I Agree +Per Siden .

    One other problem is that electric power isn't really clean in many places. Hawaii for example, the grid power is mostly electricity generated from burning crude oil, and it's likely not very efficient power production.

    Batteries seem to be the biggest problem for electric and hybrid vehicles.

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  10. Per Siden

    Perhaps +Roland Mösl would like to jump in on this discussion and clarify what charge efficiency can be expected for electric buses? 50% sounds very low to me. I know typical Lithium-Ion charge/discharge efficiency is 80-90% or better, but how poor can it get due to bad conditions such as cold weather or near-expended battery packs?

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  11. Per Siden

    Cost is what drives the development, but there are also other advantages with electric or hybrid-electric buses that weigh in.

    Obviously electric buses pollute less, both CO2 and other stuff. But it is also a big advantage that they are quieter. I don't know about the BYD, but the Volvo hybrids are as quiet as 20 dB. The combination of being quiet and clean means they can be used indoors. Terminals can be designed completely differently and more efficiently. Bus stops can be integrated into shopping malls and gallerias.

    In my own experience and according to the drivers I've talked to the electric buses also offer an extremely smooth ride. Changing to a diesel after riding an electric bus feels like going back to a steam locomotion. Of course that's my personal opinion, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the other passengers felt just the same.

    Over the next years I think we are going to see hybrids with ever better battery capacity, meeting demand and in response to falling battery costs and faster and better charging . There is still plenty of room for improvements. Today short-distance urban routes are ripe for the electric revolution while rural long-distance buses will have to keep burning oil a while longer.

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  12. Per Siden

    Electricity is a highly refined form of energy, and that certainly means it comes with a price. Regardless of what source of energy is used, transforming it into electricity and distribute it means a significant loss of energy in the process. However, projecting and extracting oil, transporting it across half the globe, refining it, distributing by the road network and finally burning it for heat to transform it into motion energy is probably an even greater waste of energy and resources. I suppose the worst possible example efficiency-wise would be using a remote diesel electric generator to power electric buses in different part of the country.

    But extreme examples aren't necessarily the best. There is always the right tool for the job. The question is, if we aren't already witnessing a change in what is the best tool for the job. As one of the leading truck and bus manufacturers in the world, I think it is safe to assume Volvo is going electric as a result of their previous experience with hybrids and electric buses, after careful analysis and in response to their customers demand. They're in the bus business to do money.

    The customers in this case are the public transport operators and bus companies, and they're also in it for the money. They don't care about how the diesel got to the pump, or about grid losses. They care about what they have to pay up front. And electricity is way, way cheaper than diesel, a difference that is increasing for every year. Even if charging capacity is as low as 50% fuel cost for an electric bus is still less than half of that of a diesel. And that still assumes the operators pay the same amount of money for electricity that I do, which I seriously doubt.

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  13. Juaquin Anderson

    The grid is inefficient for electric power. ..also can't handle the load of many electric vehicles. The charge efficiency is likely near 50% for most of the life of the battery and typical conditions . 80% is the best batteries under ideal conditions.

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  14. Per Siden

    Lithium-Ion batteries typically have a charge/discharge efficiency of 80-90%, but I cannot find any specific figures for this new type of fast induction charging. But for a comparison, let's look at some related figures.

    It is true that both diesel and electricity are refined, high grade if you like, forms of energy. But electricity is still cheap compared to diesel, very cheap. And buses run more efficiently on electricity than on diesel too. The mileage of a typical diesel bus is 440 kWh/100 km (the most common type of diesel, MK1 with 5% RME, or bio-diesel, equals 9.77 kWh). Electric buses get about twice that mileage.

    The difference is even more clear if we look at the costs. The typical diesel bus with its mileage of 45 liter of diesel/100 km burn €68 worth of precious diesel every 100 km. Volvo's new hybrid bus has 15 kWh of battery capacity, enough for on average 8 km of driving. Assuming a charge/discharge efficiency of a low 80% the bus consumes 187 kWh @ €0,09 (consumer price) for 80 km. The total electricity cost is €17 (rounded up). Volvo claim a better mileage than the average bus in diesel mode, but lets still add the full €14 (20% of €68) for the last 20 km for the sake of the comparison. The total fuel cost for the hybrid bus is then €31 per 100 km, a €37 saving, or roughly €29,000 a year – for every bus in the fleet.

    Over the expected life-time of the bus, this saving in comparison to regular diesel buses will probably grow even bigger as the price of diesel continues to increase. If the bus carrier should team up with a utility or produce their own energy they might be able to come closer to €0,04/kWh, the EEX average market price in 2012, and a total cost per per 80 km below €8.

    Volvo may be right, perhaps the time for hybrids is now. Or perhaps BYD is right, perhaps development will be even faster than we can see right now and going all-in on electric is the best option. But the trend is clear, and it is moving away from diesel. Fast.

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  15. Per Siden

    Environment stands to win, but the driving factor behind electric buses is actually cost efficiency

    Cost comparison
    A classic urban city commuter bus uses about 45 liters of diesel per 100 km (5,2 MPG) and runs about 70,000 km (44,000 miles) a year. The fuel cost for 31,500 liters of diesel in Europe is around €38,000. All-electric buses are still pretty expensive and charging times can be long. The previous generation of hybrid buses were cheaper, but saved only about 30% of the fuel cost.

    Most urban bus routes are less than 10 km  (6.2 miles)
    Now Volvo think they have managed to strike the optimal balance between the two. Their latest hybrid buses are equipped with a (for a bus) very small diesel engine, but under normal conditions the electric drive line will handle the typical urban bus route. At each end of the bus route batteries get fully charged in just 5-6 minutes. The induction charging means no cables have to be attached, the bus just have to park in the correct position.

    Savings
    The latest hybrids cost about the same as the previous generation of hybrids but save 60-80% of fuel cost, at least €23,000 a year in our example above. Per year. Per bus. And since the combustion engine is used so little a substantial amount is saved on service and maintenance as well. In less than five years time the extra cost for a hybrid bus over a pure diesel has paid for itself, even if the batteries had to be replaced prematurely during that time period.

    No more city diesel buses from Volvo
    To emphasize the speed of the change we are seeing now, I would like to draw attention to the fact that Volvo actually announced in April this year that they will stop selling city buses with diesel and gas engines by late 2013: "We will stop selling diesel and gas-powered buses at the end of this year, because we do not see a future for this type of buses in urban traffic", said Edward Jobson, Environmental Director at Volvo Buses.

    The future definitely is in electric buses.

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  16. Abe Pectol

    It seems (slightly) that transition to electric vehicles goes faster than transition to non-polluting energy sources.

    But then, non-controlled infrastructure (i.e. consumer-owned vehicles) is harder to replace. Which probably doesn't include buses though.

    Still, at least some progress.

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  17. John Said

    I would seriously love to see some electric buses around. the current ones here are super noisy and polluting.  Maybe with a combo of batteries and super capacitors for quick recharge.

    here is Elon Musks demo of battery swap vs petrol station refueling if interested. it's a 7min video

    http://vimeo.com/68832891

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  18. Per Siden

    The electric bus I ride to work is fully charged in five minutes. One induction ( contact free) charging station at each end of its route. I think charging time is becoming less of a problem really. Filling up with diesel takes time too, and it can't be done at the bus stop.

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  19. John Said

    very fast battery swaps are also possible if needed (seen in a recent tesla motors video)

    electric vehicles can swap batteries faster than fossil fuel vehicles can fill tanks 🙂

    Reply

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