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ETS Electric Bus testing


M. Parsons
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  • 3 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Phillip said:

Looks like 8000 made it out today on a Saturday! 

Nice catch sir! Hopefully the first of many... after all we don't have that backup fleet of 1993-94 D40LF's to run on all of the weekend electric runs anymore :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Just like the trolleys days... Centennial has pretty much sent nothing on this week (like Mitchell was good for) and Andrews is doing something at least... 

In fact, the past two mornings have been impressive. 11 buses Wednesday, 12 buses Thursday. Alas, only 2 midday and nothing in the PM peak or into the evening.

None the less, they have been sending out buses from the second lot. 

From today:

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8019 from the first batch.

ets8021-DSC01577DSC01577-11-19-2020.thumb.jpg.21ef5236810fe2c6f4a9c5c82a88ee99.jpgets8028-DSC01568DSC01568-11-19-2020.thumb.jpg.42e720f65d0e2f02c751ba861fdee46a.jpg
8021 and 8028 from the second batch. 8021 with a "Lest We Forget" sign too. 

I was working on getting a shot of 8032, but, it never entered Belvedere on it's last trip.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Rode 8037 today. Impressed with the heat. I don't recall being too impressed with the heat on the BYD demos on a day when it was warmer than today. I don't recall being too impressed with the heat on St. Albert's either. 

I think this was the first one of the second batch. Seems they have USB outlets for passengers. That would be a first for ETS.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/11/2021 at 6:12 AM, Catherine Wilkins said:

8010 SAW DAYLIGHT TODAY

In its inaugural drive around North Edmonton this afternoon, ETS Bus 8010 a Proterra Catalyst BE40 E2 Max (see transit55.ca) was interviewed at the garage afterwards and stated, "It's nice to see daylight again this afternoon."  "WOW, I worked 8 hours and 32 minutes today, and I feel great now"  "Yes, I've been cooped up, forgotten about for six months; however, I'll get washed up tonight, become full charged again and be ready for tomorrow."  Buses 8036 and 8039 declined comment.

Are there any statistics about the overall peformance of the Battery buses yet? e.g. availabilty ratio.? From this example, it doesn't sound too great. 

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5 hours ago, martin607 said:

Are there any statistics about the overall peformance of the Battery buses yet? e.g. availabilty ratio.? From this example, it doesn't sound too great. 

Anecdotally they seem to have issues, however it is tough to confirm without an inside source. While 38/40 units have entered service, on a good day there will only be 8-12 on the road at one time, and that being a very short amount of time with the majority of the runs being peak hours only. Sometimes they will send out two buses on a Saturday and/or Sunday, but it's hit and miss (none were dispatched this weekend, for example). For a while changeovers were common on some of the longer (7-9 hour) runs, but seem to have tapered off as of late... maybe the warmer weather and better road conditions have helped?

Regarding specific units, some of them have seen consistent service while many have entered service only to disappear for 2-3 months before finally returning. This past week a number of units returned to service after being MIA since November-December. Perhaps they are starting to figure things out?

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6 hours ago, martin607 said:

Are there any statistics about the overall peformance of the Battery buses yet? e.g. availabilty ratio.? From this example, it doesn't sound too great. 

Not yet. 

Of note though is some turmoil within Fleet and Facility Services, who maintain the bus fleet. ETS manager Eddie Robar is now the branch manager for Fleet and Facility Services. What happened to the previous branch manager is not clear.

In particular however, a letter written by employees in December 2020, and which made it into the media in January 2020 specifically called out the lack of training and tools for new buses in the fleet. It didn't say what the "new" buses were but I can only imagine it was the Proterra's. ETS has had a significant XD40 fleet since 2018, and XD60's should have been along the same lines for maintenance and repair as the XD40's and artic buses in general are not new to the ETS fleet.

In addition, into late 2020 there was still work being done to support the electric bus fleet at Andrews, including with software. And while rather vague we do have this from a recent Capital Budget update: "Knowledge transfer and program winddown is expected to be complete by May 2021, which aligns with the PTIF funding deadline of May 15, 2021."

I guess we see what happens come May 2021.

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On 3/10/2021 at 11:12 PM, Catherine Wilkins said:

8010 SAW DAYLIGHT TODAY

In its inaugural drive around North Edmonton this afternoon, ETS Bus 8010 a Proterra Catalyst BE40 E2 Max (see transit55.ca) was interviewed at the garage afterwards and stated, "It's nice to see daylight again this afternoon."  "WOW, I worked 8 hours and 32 minutes today, and I feel great now"  "Yes, I've been cooped up, forgotten about for six months; however, I'll get washed up tonight, become full charged again and be ready for tomorrow."  Buses 8036 and 8039 declined comment.

8010, complete with no electric bus decals on the driver's side. My guess on 8036 & 8039 is they are being held back for contract purposes, similar to what happened with 4966 & 4967.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/15/2021 at 7:38 PM, T6H-5307N said:

My guess on 8036 & 8039 is they are being held back for contract purposes, similar to what happened with 4966 & 4967.

Why would they be held back for contractual purposes? Is it to ensure that the city pays Proterra the full amount?

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1 hour ago, MatthewB said:

Why would they be held back for contractual purposes? Is it to ensure that the city pays Proterra the full amount?

Don't quote me on it (I'm not 100% sure without an inside source), but I imagine it has to do with warranty and program closure... it could be that they have extended warranty coverage and/or can partially withhold payment (for city budgeting purposes) until either a certain date passes or all units are in service, so they hold a unit or two back to maintain coverage if they aren't already near the closure date. For the Proterras, the program wrap-up is listed as May 2021, so 8039 might not materialize until then. I could be totally wrong, but anecdotally we've seen this for all recent orders, even back to 7109 vs the rest of the 2018's.

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2 hours ago, MatthewB said:

Why would they be held back for contractual purposes? Is it to ensure that the city pays Proterra the full amount?

To be clear, it's not Proterra holding the bus back. It's almost certainly at Andrews. Likely ETS is waiting to formally accept the bus and sign off on it. 

There are milestone payments in most large contracts, whether it's a signal system, an entire LRT line, or buses. As milestones are achieved, payments are made. No doubt, a big milestone payment for a bus purchase is going to be the acceptance of the final bus, but there could be additional payments for other deliverables that are part of the contract. Perhaps a parts supply, any special tools or software, documentation etc. 

In the case of the Proterra purchase, there's also Federal PTIF funding at play, which requires the Federal funds to be disbursed by sometime around May 2021. 

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Going to the Executive Committee is a recommendation to purchase 20 electric buses with a top up interest free loan from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank Zero Emisson Bus program.

60 buses is the maximum capacity of the existing infrastructure, anything beyond that would need infrastructure upgrades and additions. 

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