King County Metro’s Proterra Catalyst FC Electric Bus – Videos

SEP 12 2015 BY MARK KANE 13

King County Metro, one of the first to order the new 40-foot Proterra Catalyst FC (fast charging) buses, already installed a fast charger and received its first bus.

Battery electric buses are just a preview as the company bets mainly on trolleys (174 replacement trolley buses over the next two years).

The new electric bus looks great and below we attached a few videos presenting how they drive and connect to the charger.

New battery-operated prototype buses look beyond the wire

Beyond the new trolleys, Metro is pursuing more innovation, thanks to a $4.7 million federal grant. Over the next four to six months, Metro will take delivery of three 40-foot prototype heavy-duty battery-electric buses with fast-charging batteries, manufactured with a composite body by Proterra, Inc.

The new 38-seat buses can travel up to 23 miles between charges, and remain on the road up to 24 hours a day. Batteries take 10 minutes or less to charge. The prototype bus is expected to get 15 miles more from an equivalent unit of energy than a diesel-hybrid coach. A battery-charging station has already been set up at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride lot.

Metro will test the performance and efficiency of the new technology for up to a year on local streets and roads, to determine whether battery-electric buses can be a future replacement option for Metro. The three prototypes will likely be tested on short routes serving the Eastside and downtown Seattle.”

Categories: Bus


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13 Comments on "King County Metro’s Proterra Catalyst FC Electric Bus – Videos"

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I read the headline and saw “FC,” thinking the worst.

Thankfully, “FC” means “fast charge” for batteries and not “fuel cell.”

when i saw “FC electric bus” i too was thinking fuel cell. i think fuel cell does work for city buses, but i think that BEVs are a good fit for city buses also. they’ve got a demo in chicago where they are running prototype BEV buses. it will be interesting to see how they do during the winter.

long haul buses would be better suited to fuel cell, though.

At 43 seconds into the third video the bus goes up Alabama Hill, a long and steep hill. The Proterra averaged 22 mph up this hill, and the Proterra rep says that last year BYD didn’t even try to get up that hill because their bus “didn’t have the big motors in it.” That’s kind of embarrassing for BYD.

The Proterra rep then goes on to say that Proterra has another same size electric motor (not used in the bus in this video) where they have a “heat sink built around the stator” to “pull heat away from the motor” so they’re able to run the motor at peak performance for longer periods of time. Interesting.

That third video is from The Bellington Herald, and the accompanying new story is at this link:

From the article:
“When BYD Motors was here in October 2014 for a four-day trial on WTA routes, with passengers, the company’s electric bus stayed on flat ground.

‘BYD did not attempt Alabama Street hill with the bus they brought last year but told me they will be back in the future with a more powerful bus,’ said Mike Bozzo, WTA’s director of fleet and facilities.

‘Bellingham has a unique terrain that causes problems for them,’ Bozzo said of the all-electrics.”

In other words, the BYD bus with the regular motor can’t make it up long, steep hills like Alabama Street, but BYD has a heavy duty motor that might be able to handle it. Meanwhile, Proterra’s bus with the regular motor can make it up long, steep hills like Alabama Street, and also has a heavy duty motor that can handle even steeper and longer hills. Advantage Proterra!

Good input sven. I was wondering how the BYD bus would do up steep grades with all that weight from the big battery.

This is progress, all we need is wind turbines and solar panels in the background.

Nice American companies and customers looking to break foreign oil dependence, and reduce emissions in the process. It is possible USA!

Doing the world a favor by not shiping some money to those damn… canadians. 😉

All domestic oil is not really an interesting goal. No oil on the other hand…

The “Conservatives” in Canada are polluting their own country into the stone age with Tar Sand project, so we’re actually doing them a favor.

They have wind up there, we can import their wind energy.

Yep and hydro power for sale too.
Québec and Ontario are foreseing an energy exchange from Québec with clean hydro to shut down some Ontario coal plant or nuke.
BTW This is a potential bigger advance on climate than most news here.
As for wind turbine, it’s good to remind people that cold air is way more powerful, thus efficient and energy dense, than hotter air and there is plenty of cold air in north and land that could be use to avoid new expensive permanent hydro damn.
Since the power lines are already built, it would be more economical and environnemantaly wiser to build wind tower instead of damn. If needed, it’s simple to also dismantle them.
The thing is those decision are made by people who are familiar only wiht damn.
And, politic pressure is non existent on those topic here around.
So the show goes on.

I’ll be careful about taking the comments from a sales guy, poopooing BYD! Just few article below this one you read that WSDOT has declared BYD the winner of 10 out of 12 categories of their RFP. You a say claiming this hill was one of the two misses, but I doubt it

Now any agency in Washington State or Oregon can order BYD buses. Not all details are out, but on the surface It sounds like there is more to it than what that sales guy is throwing at BYD.

BYD’s press release on WSDOT was just that – PR. Like other vendors on that RFP including New Flyer, BYD is merely eligible to receive orders. But they didn’t “win” anything. Many of their press releases are designed to drive up their stock price in China, so they take liberties with the truth. Chinese Solar companies did the same thing a few years back. BYD’s buses work but they are very heavy. They have a metal bus design from China and it is full of batteries. A brute force approach to engineering, not ideal for vehicle handling. I do like seeing more vendors for green buses.

Trolley buses! Ugh! Those things are such eyesores.