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martin607

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Everything posted by martin607

  1. Quite. Kiepe has been the main contractor for the traction equipment for New flyer trolleybuses to Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. They simply chose to buy in traction motors from Skoda (lower cost? speed of delivery?). But they could have manufactured in-house. As this is a Gillig thread, has anybody posted about the new Next Generation Trolleybuses being ordered by Dayton Ohio? These are full dual mode battery trolleybuses capable of running 15 miles in battery mode. The batteries are recharged while running under the trolleybus wires - yay no need for the 10 minute charging waits that pure battery buses need. Interestingly the transit authority seems to be contracting directly with Kiepe Electric, who in turn are using Gillig bus bodies.
  2. I hadn't realised that Cummins had started making electric powertrains. That's a sensible move from their point of view but where do they get the experience and expertise to guarantee performance and reliability to demanding customers? In contrast New Flyer uses electric motors from Siemens, which has over 100 years experience in electric traction - railways, tramways and trolleybuses
  3. I wonder if 12 years is a bit optimistic. Are the manufacturers guaranteeing that? Moscow in Russia has just awarded two contracts each of 100 battery buses and they expect battery replacement at about 8 years. The manufacturers will have to pay for new batteries after 8 years. And that rather ties in with car manufacturers who also give an 8 year guarantee on their battery electric cars. The other factor is battery performance. Even if you get 8 years life, the battery capacity will gradually fall. Unless the capacity falls to below 80% you don't get free replacement.
  4. If I remember correctly, Subway was shown to be better value for money than Light Rail, based on the original cost estimates. But given the large cost overruns, would Light Rail now be better value for money? Should the modelling be at least revisited?
  5. I've seen the reports of trolleys coming back from refurbs, which I sound just like cosmetic jobs. But presumably some trolleys are getting full mid-life overhauls?
  6. The original plan is still on the Translink website. The proposal was for there to be evening service on what is now the 14 (it was called the 10 at that time). So ensuring service ran right up to the start of night bus service would not be a problem. Remember, the proposal was partly efficiency driven. The plan does not require "service expansion"; on the contrary, the plan says is would save "8-9 peak trolleybuses and 20,000 Annual Service Hours. The savings will increase to an estimated 32,500 Annual Service Hours once articulated trolleybuses are introduced to the #20 route." There would be a one-off cost of $2.0m for the trolley wire extension/alterations but this would be outweighed by $2.8m annual operating cost savings. Any project that pays for itself in less than a year is well worth doing. Yes, I believe this was more or less the same in the Translink proposal. As far as I can see, the main risk in the plan would be traffic delays on Renfrew Street (those loooong freight train hold-ups) affecting service on the east west Powell section. Pity they got rid of the Broadway & Renfrew trolley loop all those years ago.
  7. Large Cat mentioned the NE sector trolley changes in another topic. I seem to have lost track of this. The changes were originally proposed in the Vancouver/UBC Transit Plan of July 2005 (see section 6.6.10). Thirteen years have passed and the changes have not been implemented, even though they apparently would lead to annual cost savings of $2.8m (2005 prices). I assumed that the idea had been completely dropped but people here still mention them occasionally. What is the current status of these plans?
  8. As far as I know Proterra is a privately funded company. The apparently low price may be a bit of a "loss-leader" to attract business. New Flyer is a quoted company and obviously aims to make a profit on every bus it sells. Both companies are competing in the US market so I don't know how NFI wins battery bus orders (e.g .100 ordered by Los Angeles last autumn) if Proterra is underbidding them by say $200,000 per bus.
  9. Agreed. It is good to have a trial. I drive a battery car myself and it's great providing you know how to plan. So far I have always managed to get home even if I only have a couple of miles left on the battery :-) What concerns me is politicians thinking they have found a magic solution. They haven't. If you compare battery electric to mains electric (trolleys), the BEVs obviously have flexibility, but trolleys don't have charging waits and are somewhat more energy efficient (lower weight). Add some batteries to a trolley and then you could get the best of both worlds:- extensive off-wire range and flexibility but freedom from charging waits, because you have done the necessary battery charging under the wires.
  10. Well of course the technology can improve over time. But at the moment the battery bus technology is not ready for heavy duty routes. Maybe for suburban routes with say a 15 or 20 minute headway and plenty of recover time allowed. Of course we already have electric buses that don't need 10 minute charging breaks - they are called trolleybuses! The latest development for trolleybuses is called "In Motion Charging" where you have batteries giving say 20 or 30km range. The trolleybus runs under wires 50% of the time and recharges as it drives, then it can do an additional 20 km or whatever away from the wires. Imagine you could electrify routes like the 41 or B95 beyond the existing wires to UBC or SFU respectively.
  11. Another point might also be electric vehicle maintenance. VTC has mechanics who are used to maintaining electric powered buses i.e. trolleys. There is presumably at least some overlap in principle between battery electric and mains electric (trolley) i.e. electric motor and power electronics for speed control. Also a kind of "culture" thing, working around electrically powered vehicles??
  12. Yes I heard that. The woman from the research organisation said that they could ramp up the power to 1,000 kW! That's very high power and current which will require heavy duty insulation etc. and be expensive. If I was the electric utility I would not be happy to have to supply a connection to the grid to give short bursts of very high power e.g. 2 minutes of 1,000 kW only 4 or 5 times per hour. Or rather I would charge a lot of money for the installed capacity. The alternative system of battery bus has overnight charging. This has drawbacks too, but one of its advantages is that it provides a steady load of cheap off-peak electricity. As I said in my post above about the trials in Cologne, they call out reserve diesel buses to cover the e-buses that have run out of juice. So it's expensive. Or, as you say, frequency or schedule adherence goes out of the window to allow those 10 minute recharges. In other cities in Europe you can see proposals to replace say 20 normal buses with say 25 battery buses. That would be expensive both in terms of capital purchases and in drivers wages when you need to send out 25% more buses to maintain the schedule.
  13. This is one of the potential problems with battery electric buses in practical service and why it is important for Translink to gain real life service experience. I have seen a presentation about the trial battery electric route 133 in Cologne, Germany. If the battery buses get delayed in traffic they eventually fall behind on their charging and have to be substituted by diesels. Here is an extract from the company's presentation about the effect of traffic delays on operating the battery buses: "75% of our buses are delayed at the terminus 23% of all buses suffering a delay higher than 5 minutes For those buses: no effective charging time is available anymore  Charging will take place at the next terminus  If the traffic situation at the next terminus is not improved, the control center has to bring diesel buses into operation  The specific electrobus has to be charged for the next 20 minutes." So what we are talking about is the need for extra back up buses so that you can maintain the timetable. which of course increases capital and operating costs. My attitude is that battery buses can be good at least for certain applications. But at the current stage of battery and charging technology I doubt that they are suitable yet for the heaviest routes. And there's life in the old trolleybus yet:-).
  14. I was told that the speed governing on modern trolleybuses is about protecting the electronic control system. This is in contrast to the traditional type of trolleybus like the Brills which had a DC traction motor with speed control by resistors. They could easily do 80 km or more e.g. on night time runs along 41st to OTC. And any stray currents or whatever from running at high speed would not damage anything. Depending on the model, trolleybuses have a differential gearing ratio of about 10:1. The New Flyer trolleybuses could in theory go as fast as the old Brills but if they went that fast, they could damage the power electronics.
  15. You've hit the nail on the head there! For cities that already have trolleybus infrastructure, it makes perfect sense to adopt a system of battery/trolleybuses, which can run on unwired sections using batteries and then use the existing wires both for motion and for charging up ready for the next unwired section. Vossloh Kiepe who supply the traction equipment in the New Flyers for Vancouver and now Seattle and SF call this system In Motion Charging ("IMC") There are a number of advantages to this: - you don't have to install new charging stations at stops, terminals and transit centres, you just use the existing electrical infrastructure; - instead of having to install a heavy battery with a range of, say, 200km, you can have a smaller battery that is constantly recharged. Experience abroad suggests a battery range of 20km to 30 km should be sufficient in most cities; -the weight saving from having only limited range batteries means greater energy efficiency and no restriction to passenger loads (most battery buses abroad have restricted passenger loading because of weight regulations); - many more routes could become electric without the need for extensions to the wiring; - with really good battery performance, dieselisation for events, roadworks etc. could be avoided. Think of the possibilities in Vancouver. Not only a trolley 41 but possibly the new B91 could be battery/trolley. Here is a link to an article about new battery/trolley in Esslingen Germany. Essentially they were able to add a new route to an existing system. Only 1/3 of the route is under wires but that is sufficient using IMC to run the whole route electrically. www.cbwmagazine.com/solaris-trolleybuses-for-essingen/
  16. I know the feeling. when I first visiting in 1979 I was asking myself, "Will they get new trolleys after the Brills?" To my pleasant surprise they got the Flyer 901s. Then 20 years later I feared that would be the last of the trolleys but no, they ordered yet another new fleet of trolleys. So who can say what will happen in ten years' time? Stop ruining people's daydreams ;-) Trolleybuses can be run efficiently. I'm not sure what your specific point here is, but underutilisation of the 40' fleet was partly caused by ordering extra artic trolleys for the 10. I suspect the original intention was to shift the spare 40 ' trolleys to convert a diesel route e.g. trolleys on the 41 once the long delayed B line arrives.
  17. This rumour comes up from time to time. I recall being taken to BTC on one of my first visits to Vancouver (early 80s!) and my contact explained that they had future-proofed it by providing enough headroom to run trolley wire into the workshops. The proposals usually related to extending the 9 and probably the 14 to Brentwood Mall. Later suggestions included the 130, but nothing ever came of these proposals. From an operational point of view it could make sense to base a small part of the trolleybus fleet at BTC. At the moment trolleybuses terminating service at the eastern side of the system have long deadhead journeys back to VTC. The driver hours saved could go towards construction of the extended wiring. I would guess the sensible allocation to BTC would be about half the trolleys needed for the 9, 14 and 16, say 50 or 60 trolleybuses. Plus of course any increase for converting a route like the 130.
  18. Do the diverted buses need to make any stops on Hastings at all? How about running the eastbound 4 and 7 trolleys on the express wire from Main? Translink would then only need to install one switch. Also the manoever would be easier, safer and less disruptive to general traffic than having trolleys coming out of the curb lane to make the left turn every 7 minutes. It's true that there is the double switch at Hastings and Nanaimo, but trolleys from Kootenay loop run out of service on the express wire and then make the left turn. AFAIK the double switch isn't used to move trolleys at Hastings and Nanaimo from the curb lane to the express wire and then to the left turn.
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