Although city buses are noteworthy for helping people to get out on the road without polluting the air, the buses that those people rely upon can still be pollutants. But the development of smart electric buses is growing to keep such pollution-related problems from being an issue.
Newer buses that operate on electric motors are more efficient and easier to operate. They may cost less to utilize over time as they do not have to bear with fuel costs that could spike or become inflated at any moment.
How Do Zero-Emission Buses Work?
In most cases, zero-emission buses are made with fully electric motors. Instead of traditional gas-burning engines, these buses will use electric batteries that are recharged each day. These power sources produce energy for moving a bus forward without generating any added emissions. By reducing pollutants, air quality around city streets becomes easier to handle.
In some cases, solar panels are utilized on the bodies of these buses to keep them energized. Such buses collect energy from the sun’s rays and move that power into the battery. This allows the battery to stay strong and capable of running even at night. The power level would still have to be reviewed carefully though as accessibility to solar energy power is always subject to how well panels can take in solar rays.
Replacing Old Buses
These smarter buses can replace older models to keep the roads clean and safe. Older fuel-powered buses tend to become less efficient as they age. These buses start to develop engine deposits while those motors do not run as well as they used to. This makes it easier for those buses to produce emissions. By replacing them with smarter electric ones, the hassles of pollution and noise are reduced.
How Long Can Buses Run For?
One prominent aspect of zero-emission city buses is that they can run for a while without stopping. Larger batteries are in development to extend the average range that a bus travels.
Proterra has developed the Catalyst E2 battery with a full range of 350 miles on a charge. This allows the bus to move through its daily routes so it does not have to be charged until the workday ends.
What About Charging?
It is true that it takes a reasonable period for a battery to charge up. Many batteries can take five hours to fully charge up at times. However, the extended ranges of these batteries make it so they will not have to charge as often. Also, the off-peak hours when bus services are minimal could be ideal times for charging. A team running a fleet of buses would have to watch for how the charging process works and what makes it appropriate and useful.
Where Are These Buses?
China is a very popular place for zero-emission city buses to be found in. Around 10,000 of these buses were ordered in 2015, but that total doubled to 20,000 in 2016. This comes as China is aiming to control its air pollution problems and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and other pollutants.
The United States is aiming to get more of these buses as well. The United States Department of Transportation has received a $55 million grant to support the development of added electric buses. This includes support for producing new charging stations and stronger batteries that can power up these vehicles.
Cheaper to Maintain
One positive about these city buses that many people often forget about entails how it is easier for groups to maintain these buses. This is thanks to the people who operate these smart buses not having to get fuel. The cost to recharge a battery is substantially less than the cost to fuel up a bus. Considering how the cost of fuel is more volatile than the cost of electricity, this is a sizeable boon for transit companies.
The need for city buses to become cleaner and more efficient is a necessity. Smart buses today are working with zero emissions and electric power to make them more useful. As a result, these rides will certainly be green alternatives for commuters to utilize while being easier to maintain and operate.