Texas Gets Its First Two Electric, Wireless Charging Buses – Video

AUG 19 2015 BY JAY COLE 21

What to do if you are looking to employ all-electric buses in your city, but your local routes are greater than those buses’ effective range?   For McAllen, Texas, you just add on some wireless inductive charging.

“A fully electric bus will get you a 120 to 130 miles on one charge. We typically run 160 miles so that wireless charging will that will be achieved throughout the day will allow you to run the full 160 miles without having to pull the bus out of service.” – Mario Delgado, the transit director for the City of McAllen said to KGBT Action 4 News/Valley Central

McAllen, Texas Gets Pair Of Electric Buses

McAllen, Texas Gets Pair Of Electric Buses

Each bus has an approximate 12 minute stop at the end station during their routes, which is where the ‘topping up’ occurs before heading back out.

The two EVs are the first wireless charging buses in service in Texas today.  Hopefully, the start of a new trend for public transportation in the state.

Each all-electric bus costs about $600,000 – not cheap, especially when you consider the older diesel buses run about $400,000.   However the lifespan of the EV bus is much greater.  Mr. Delgado stated that a fuel savings of about 60 cents per mile is realized, and he expects each bus to log about 50,000 miles a year.

Some napkin back math says that the buses will breakeven in just under 7 years, before returning value to the city for the rest of their operational lives.  A conventional diesel bus is typically good for about 12 years of service; an electric bus is anticipated to last longer and cost much less to maintain.

Bonus moment (@2:10 mark):  As a counter-point (?) to the story, a McAllen resident tells us why electric vehicles are bad – something about ruining the trucking business, and diesel costs…we really aren’t quite sure.

Valley Central, Hat tip to Doug!


Categories: Bus, Charging


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21 Comments on "Texas Gets Its First Two Electric, Wireless Charging Buses – Video"

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Great! and great range!

Have you ever been in a bus barn? Have you ever seen all the work that goes on in a bus barn?

Figure in maintenance cost savings and it’s going to be significantly less than 7 years to recover the upfront expense.

I think it’s great but I just hope the batteries are up for it. 50000 miles a year is a lot of miles in Texas heat. We’ve read a number of articles on the leaf losing significant range before hitting 50000 miles. I hope electric buses don’t get a bad rap in 2 years because they can’t handle the same routes anymore.

They should add some wireless charging at some stops between the end-stops when / if they see that battery degradation becomes an issue. With the other ones beeing in service for some years they might have gained sufficient experience. Given that the busses stop for 30 sec to let people out and in they could fill add up to 1 kWh if using 120 kW wireless charging. (While I am not sure if 120 kW wirelss charging is already availible, I hope that it will be when battery degradation kicks in – most likely not in the next 2 years.)

Diesel costs go up, as the demand for diesel goes down? Did I hear him right?

Yeah.. I was scratching my head on that bit of economics as well.

diesel refiners and diesel retailers sell product with the motive of making a profit per unit sold. if sales volume goes down, then total profit is reduced, which means that you have to recoup greater per unit profit on the remaining units that you do sell. that, in turn, means that you either have to be able to reduce your costs (unlikely if volume is reduced) or increase price.

that said, the trucker’s comments make no sense; it is not the responsibility of the local government to subsidize the local truckers.

Yes but profit is not a constant. You always want to maximize it. If demand goes down you need to either cut prices to sell more or cut your costs. If you raise prices when demand goes down you will sell even less and make even less of a profit.

that is not a true statement. if you are a truck driver and your truck has a diesel engine, you don’t have the option to switch to gasoline if the price of diesel goes up without incurring switching costs. eventually, more and more drivers might transition to some other fuel source, but the transition would not be instantaneous and in the interim, the people least able to absorb the switching costs would face a lot of difficulty.

Yeah, someone failed Econ 101.
What dumb-xxx right wing nut radio has this guy been listening too.

Demand drops, Prices drop.

They get a battery upgrade then for increased range – but how does the wireless charging while driving work. Is that something already proven along the full route or ideas ?

The wireless charging happens when they are stopped at the bus stop waiting for passengers to load/unload. Installing them must have been part of this project.

in a town like that i would expect that the buses do not run continuously as they would in a major city, but they go to major bus hubs along the route and wait until a designated departure time. they probably have it figured that at these major hubs, the buses will typically be stopped long enough to get enough charge to complete the day’s route.

A bus is a pretty heavy vehicle. I am guessing that expanding the battery packs on these buses will get cheaper faster than equipping more stops with wireless chargers.

It will be interesting to watch.

50000 *0.55 = $27,500 a year savings. That is great, shouldn’t be too long before they can get up front cost down.

This is a great way to test the feasibility of high speed inductive charging.

Oops TL;DV: charging over 8 inch air gap at each bus stop while people enter/exit the bus allows extending the 120 mile range to 160.

Wenatchee, WA: “LINK”, our transit company operates five electric buses. Two benefits not commonly recognized are less operator fatigue and no complaints from sidewalk users about noise and exhaust. The Link buses are only being used on routes within Wenatchee but there are plans to deploy electric buses on short inter city/town routes in the future.

It looks like a BYD C9 bus could cover the route without additional charging. I guess it’s a choice of a more expensive bus or adding the inductive chargers.

The worry about oil rising in price is a fals on for the moment. He’s enjoying low Diesel costs temporarily and more EV’s won’t driv up the pric

Why did they go for wireless charging though? There are buses that charge at stops already but not wirelessly but through an overhead charger. Wouldn’t that make more sense for short stop charging? I don’t see why the overhead charging units would be much more expensive to install than wireless induction chargers.

They probably do plug in at night.
It’s just at pickup stations they’ll use wireless.