Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grid-connected Electric Buses Could Displace Diesels

I'm skeptical about this - but it would be great if electric school buses were more affordable that diesel ones.
Aplus is fixed routes - but I'm not sure the battery life/vehicle range wouldn't be impacted by the cold of winter to an extent that changed the value proposition significantly.
Big increases in demand also happen during the morning hours most buses would be on the road. It's a positive that the charging would be mostly overnight, and there might be a contribution to the early evening peak demand, but .. I'm skeptical.

Image from source article
Electric school buses could provide the same services and, in some ways, are better suited for the task than consumer-owned plug-in cars. Because electric buses are only used for short periods of time, their batteries are typically available for many hours of the day, which makes them more valuable to the local grid operator that would purchase frequency regulation services. Also, fleet owners are more likely to invest in the inverter and control hardware to create two-way connection to the grid. The shorter range of an electric bus compared to a diesel bus is not going to be a problem for most urban and suburban school districts, said Firestone. Regenerative braking from frequent stops can aid battery range as well.
Diesel exhaust, which contains benzene and soot, is classified as a probable human carcinogen by many government agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US Environmental Protection Agency. And children are particularly susceptible to the adverse respiratory effects from fine particular matter, according to the nonprofit Environment and Human Health. It's estimated that 0.3 percent of in-cabin air comes from the bus's exhaust, the University of Delaware paper notes.
Practically speaking, many school districts will be unwilling or unable to pay more for electric buses. In its test, the University of Delaware ran its analysis with a bus that costs $260,000, compared to $110,000 for an equivalent diesel.
Firestone speculated that parents could be motivated by the health benefits of an electric bus to press school districts to pay the higher upfront costs.
Read the entire article at IEEE Spectrum

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