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DavidW

Winnipeg Transit Battery Electric Buses

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The fleet and serial numbers of the four battery electric buses are known:

994 NEW FLYER XE40 2014 2FYB8FJ09DC043308
995 NEW FLYER XE40 2014 2FYB8FJ00DC043309
996 NEW FLYER XE40 2014 2FYB8FJ07DC043310
997 NEW FLYER XE40 2014 2FYB8FJ09DC043311

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The buses will be using route 20. Airport - Watt.

Not sure where the picture is taken. You can make Route 37 (Redwood / Hespeler / Nairn / Pandora) Sign in the background

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Any news on delivery to WT or when they might get into service with WT? Last I heard they were expecting delivery sometime this summer.

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Any news on delivery to WT or when they might get into service with WT? Last I heard they were expecting delivery sometime this summer.

There were many news articles on May 2. At that time, David Wardrop, head of Winnipeg Transit, stated regular service should start in the Fall. As part of testing before that, "shadow service" was/is to occur (following regular buses but without picking up passengers).

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Suppose to be going into service in September on route 20. They are building a charging station at the airport

Since there is also a charging station near the Taylor Park and Ride, would it be safe to assume that these buses could also be used for Route 39?

Still though, filled my suspicions all along! And they've been doing shadow runs during the summer of 2013, yet this year I've honestly not seen a single one out here in St.James or around Polo Park.

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The bus charging station at MB Hydro Taylor has been rebuilt to the new three-contact design.

winnipeg-BatteryBusCharging-20140705.jpg

Taken 2014 July 05.

As I understand it this three-contact design is the production version. I'm surprised how close together the contacts are. I wonder if the driver has to be very accurate getting under it, or if the bus-based contacts have some sort of mechanical alignment capability.

While I was snapping photos a Manitoba Hydro employee introduced himself as the facilities manager responsible for the installation at Taylor. He said that this unit would be relocated to the airport sometime this summer. That surprised me since I had assumed a new unit would be built for the airport.

He told me that NewFlyer was responsible for the installation at the airport.

P.S. The battery bus service on the Hydro Shuttle is ended. Hydro is now back to an hourly shuttle service.

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P.S. The battery bus service on the Hydro Shuttle is ended. Hydro is now back to an hourly shuttle service.

Who operates the service when it's not a NFI test lab? Is it WT with a randomly assigned D40LF/R or does Hydro have their own minibus?

I sort of liked the big green poles better, this new design looks utilitarian. I bet there are opportunities for customization though.

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Who operates the service when it's not a NFI test lab? Is it WT with a randomly assigned D40LF/R or does Hydro have their own minibus?

I sort of liked the big green poles better, this new design looks utilitarian. I bet there are opportunities for customization though.

Hydro has a nicely-painted, but crude Cutaway shuttle service. Was kind of expecting bigger for its 1,500 employees. :P

However, Route 39 is contracted/paid for by Hydro and uses WT's fleet. But only runs rush hours, and usually is empty whenever I see it.

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Construction of the charging station hasn't started yet, but they have marked where various underground services are...

winnipeg-airportbusstop.jpg

Saturday 12 July 2014

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Photo of the charging station construction Saturday 02 August 2014. I believe the plan is to put the four battery-electric buses in service on Route 20 with the September change. If that's still the plan they have about four weeks to turn this location into a functioning recharge station.

winnipeg-WTchargingStn-2014Aug02.jpg

Saturday 02 August 2014

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Battery bus charging station construction at the airport as of Saturday, 16 August 2014.

P1000063a.jpg

View looking west from the existing bus stop.

P1000066a.jpg

View looking east.

They have cleared the space and removed the topsoil, They are now compacting the crushed rock base. I expect next will be the forms for concrete (curbs and sidewalk), the concrete work, and then the asphalt road surface. It's a fair amount of work considering the target is 31 August, but they might be close.

I spoke to my Route 20 operator during his layover at the airport and he said the sign-up had three runs marked for battery bus operation. He seemed disappointed he didn't get one.

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Battery bus charging station construction at the airport as of Saturday, 16 August 2014.

attachicon.gifP1000063a.jpg

View looking west from the existing bus stop.

attachicon.gifP1000066a.jpg

View looking east.

They have cleared the space and removed the topsoil, They are now compacting the crushed rock base. I expect next will be the forms for concrete (curbs and sidewalk), the concrete work, and then the asphalt road surface. It's a fair amount of work considering the target is 31 August, but they might be close.

I spoke to my Route 20 operator during his layover at the airport and he said the sign-up had three runs marked for battery bus operation. He seemed disappointed he didn't get one.

Just wondering, since the Route 20 layover will be moved over to the battery station, along with the sidewalk extension, how much more space could that bus stop handle in terms of buse's? Articulated buses are now completely possible with the extension from the looks of it, but how many more buse's could it fit now? 4, possibly 5? And considering Route 20s success since the 2010 extension, would there be demand for a route from the Airport to lets say... the Maples? Or shall I dare say an "Airport Express"?

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Just wondering, since the Route 20 layover will be moved over to the battery station, along with the sidewalk extension, how much more space could that bus stop handle in terms of buse's? Articulated buses are now completely possible with the extension from the looks of it, but how many more buse's could it fit now? 4, possibly 5? And considering Route 20s success since the 2010 extension, would there be demand for a route from the Airport to lets say... the Maples? Or shall I dare say an "Airport Express"?

Hard to say. Space on the airport approaches is very valuable and transit may have had to give up some space to get the new layover for the 20. Beyond that, while I did hear some discussion of a XE60 on the drawing boards, I haven't heard anything about one being constructed. If I recall the plan for these XE40 battery buses is to operate route 20 for four years, as a kind of long-term data gathering and operating and maintenance experience trial. What happens after that is anybody's guess at this point.

And as for addition Transit service to the airport, that would probably prompt negotiations with the Winnipeg Airport Authority [WAA]. I gather from some of the bits and pieces I've heard that the WAA might rather not have transit service to the airport, so they could operate (or contract to operate) an Airporter bus for profit. Notice that the new airport terminal does not contain any transit information, and almost no signage directing travellers to Winnipeg Transit.

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Keep the progress info coming, I'm curious to see how this turns out.

Maybe this is the turning point, and the Achilles heel is the stinky diesel bit in the end.

Ironic since I'm a diesel mechanic, by definition.

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As of Sunday 24 August 2014, the main road surface concrete is poured. The sidewalks and curbs remain to be done. Frequent rain in Winnipeg since Thursday might have slowed down any progress on concrete work.

P1000080a.jpg

Sunday 24 August 2014

The charging apparatus is not installed. I presume there is a concrete mount that needs to be poured to bolt the charger arm to. So far, there are only conduits (black flexible plastic piping) sticking out of the ground where I assume the electrical equipment needs to go.

P1000081a.jpg

Sunday 24 August 2014

Considering the remaining construction work to do, plus the electrical work which isn't much visible at the present, plus driver training once the whole thing is installed and working, I doubt the battery buses will be operating with the schedule change due next Sunday (31 August), but it could be a few weeks later...

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As of Sunday 24 August 2014, the main road surface concrete is poured. The sidewalks and curbs remain to be done. Frequent rain in Winnipeg since Thursday might have slowed down any progress on concrete work.

Trying to remember, stone type or precast concrete curbing is typical in the Winni region right? Down here in the Twin Cities poured and formed concrete is standard, so they usually do the curbs first, even before they completely finish grading the lane areas sometimes. Then they fill in main lane or road surface with asphalt or concrete or brick pavers.

Thanks for the updates :)

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I checked out the charging station construction site on Saturday (30 August 2014) and observed little or no change from my visit the weekend before. Since the Transit schedule change was the next day (Sunday 31 August 2014) it was obvious the battery electric buses would not go into service on that day.

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I'm pretty impressed with this approach to an "electric" bus.

With the recharging locations, perhaps the number of batteries and their weight can be reduced.

Quite a few benefits to this approach and while not exactly an "electric" bus, it's preferable to the BYD (and their concept) we are testing out here

Reducing battery weight is one of the key benefits of this approach.

I'm wondering how the batteries will perform in cold weather.

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Reducing battery weight is one of the key benefits of this approach.

I'm wondering how the batteries will perform in cold weather.

They did operate the prototype through the winter of early 2014 in service as the "Manitoba Hydro" shuttle. That service wasn't particularly demanding (10 minute trip + 20 minute layover + 10 minute return trip + 20 minute layover at charging station = 60 minute round trip) but from what I've heard the bus and its systems performed well in cold weather.

The prototype was equipped with a small diesel engine whose sole function was to generate cabin heat. Winnipeg is a very cold climate and the engineers seem to have decided that relying on battery-powered electric cabin heat was not practical here.

I would expect that the most interesting outcomes of this four-year pilot would be battery performance in all different weather conditions, and battery life cycle. Whether the battery lasts the life of a bus (around 18 years in Winnipeg) or needs to be replaced on some other, shorter, cycle, will be factored into the overall maintenance costs of the buses. Electric vehicles historically have had lower typical maintenance requirements than diesels (and longer lifespans) but no one is sure what to expect from this new technology.

In addition, I would think that comparative fuel costs will also be a big factor in deciding whether this pilot will lead to something larger scale and more permanent.

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Right On DavidW!

I'd be very surprised if the battery lasts the life of the bus but I don't think it has to. . .As cheap as electricity is in Winnipeg, its ideal for this type of pilot project. (well except for the cold weather--which I understand to negatively affect lithium ion battery performance)

I wonder if there will be some battery insulation or heater installed?

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