Seneca Ready to Test Electric Buses in Passenger Service

3 years ago by Mark Kane 11

Seneca's All Electric Cat Buses

Seneca’s All Electric Cat Buses

Seneca's All Electric Cat Bus

Seneca’s All Electric Cat Bus

Clemson Area Transit (CAT) and the City of Seneca, South Carolina, began the final deployment phase of the four Proterra electric buses in passenger service.

The buses were bought with an aid from a Federal Transit Agency grant and were delivered to Seneca over the summer.

The public could try out these electric buses since September 3 and we found video from the maiden trip. Quick charging stations are located downtown and at Oconee Medical Center.

“This final phase of deployment is to ensure that the electric buses can meet the demands of passenger service. The only change in service, other than reduced bus noise and emissions, is the relocation of the downtown stop to the lower level of the park where the new fast charger has been installed. “

Al Babinicz, CEO of Clemson Area Transit stated:

“CATbus is committed to delivering high quality transit service to our community with reliable and safe buses. The electric buses represent the most advanced technology in the transit industry. We are excited about the opportunity to operate the only all-electric bus system in the nation operating electric buses made in South Carolina. What we are seeing today is part of an extensive and planned testing protocol to ensure that these buses can effectively operate within our CATbus service area.”

Seneca's All Electric Cat Bus

Seneca’s All Electric Cat Bus

Steve Clermont, a program manager with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), who are assisting Seneca with its electric bus deployment project remarked:

With any new technology, it is essential to conduct extensive testing and some of that testing must take place on location. We have a plan to fully test all operational aspects of the electric bus. As we progress through testing, the project team, including CAT and Proterra, evaluate the results and make recommendations on next steps.”

Seneca City Administrator Greg Dietterick commented:

“The City has been providing transit for seven years now. As an electric service provider and partner in innovation, we look forward to seeing electric buses that run cleaner and more efficiently on domestic power. This is a unique opportunity for Seneca and we sincerely appreciate Proterra’s efforts at making this a success. They have been a tremendous partner throughout this process.”

Seneca's All Electric Cat Bus at quick charging station

Seneca’s All Electric Cat Bus at quick charging station

Ryan Popple, Chief Executive Officer of Proterra added:

“This project is an important element of our strategy for innovation. By deploying our Electric Vehicles with a local fleet, we can benefit from their operating experience first-hand. Further, these new routes are the first test of our technology in a small city environment. The mix of rural, suburban, campus and urban miles demonstrate that clean, quiet, efficient electric vehicles are ready to serve the broader transit market. We hope that other cities and fleet operators can benefit from the experience gained by CAT, CTE and the City of Seneca in EV transit technology.”

Seneca’s All Electric Cat Bus from Seneca Video on Vimeo.

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11 responses to "Seneca Ready to Test Electric Buses in Passenger Service"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    the battery is around 40 kwh and they are saying it can charge in 5 minutes.

    5 minutes is a 12C charging rate which is attainable. so that’s 40kwhX12= 480 kw of charging power req’d.

    If their grid source of electricity is 480
    Volts, that would be 1000 amps of current.

    If you asked the power company for a 480 kw service is that within the realm?

    Is 1000 amps of charging current an attainable number?

    A normal house meter is usually around 55 Kw.
    So you’d be asking the power company for around 10 houses of power.

    1. DaveMart says:

      I would have thought that power companies would have to supply all sorts of small industrial units with that sort of power draw, and it would be no problem at all.

      Local transformers and so on might want beefing up though.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        It SEEMS reasonable.

        I’m just wondering if Proterra used that number as a way to figure their battery size.

        I would think their might be a step change in what the power service would cost. There must be some sort of practical limit what the power companies can provide.

        1. DaveMart says:

          I don’t see why.
          If a developer runs up a street of another hundred houses, coping with it is routine for the grid, and you aren’t going to have loads of buses fast charging in the same place at the same time as common sense would make you stagger them.
          Clearly the utility is going to make you pay for the high power draw, so possible at a later stage it might make sense to buffer to some extent, but there would not seem to be any great problem for utilities.

          If we ever get inductively charged highways, now that is a problem!

        2. DaveMart says:

          George,
          OT but on another site someone was saying that Tesla going up from cylindrical 18650 cells to 22700 although it would increase the energy per cell would not increase the energy at the Tesla pack level.

          I thought it would, as the proportion of space between the batteries would be less.

          My math is not good enough to work it out.

          Which is right? ?-)

          1. Mikael says:

            The total empty space between the batteries are exactly the same for the cells.
            The change in diameter doesn’t change the total space between them no matter if they are a millimeter in diameter or if it’s just a few giant cells (assuming they fit perfectly from wall to wall that is).

            But the 22700 cells are taller, so that would increase the total energy of course. And maybe sligtly more because the total volume of the walls of the cells will probably be a bit smaller.

            1. DaveMart says:

              Thanks.
              I can visualise it now you have confirmed it.

    2. Mikael says:

      My local Tesla supercharger is at 4*150kW = 600 KW.
      +they added some capability to build other kinds of fast chargers too. So at least 800 kW just like that.

      There are buses out ther that are charging at 300 kW during the route already. And companies looking at city buses charging at up to 1 MW.

      It would be stupid to even consider that if it wasn’t easy enough to get the power needed at many different places in a city to be able to put chargers at bus stops. 🙂

      1. GeorgeS says:

        I was just trying to understand the cost of charging stations for a bus as a function of charging power in kw.

        Is it linear?

        TOD charges for the electricity come into the picture also.

  2. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Very fast chargers are probably cheapest to implement, if it is combined with grid storage service (for solar panels). Alone buffer battery for fast charger probably is too expensive.

    So basically, battery grid storage alone is probably too expensive. And buffer battery for fast EV charger is also probably too expensive alone.

    But if both applications are combined, they could make sense! At least both applications can apply clean tech tech incentives separately… 🙂

    1. DaveMart says:

      If the grid storage is to work, it would also require a bank of batteries which can discharge fast to power the bus.

      Those are expensive, as the cost of the Proterra bus shows.

      Sticking several expensive ideas togeether does not make them cheaper.