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Translink electrification by 2050


tbodnar2003
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4 hours ago, tbodnar2003 said:

So apparently Translink is going to replace all their diesel buses with electric buses. I don't know what this will entail, or if the hybrids and shuttles will be at risk. this is for updates and thoughts. info on procurement, and opinions are welcomed.

Unless electric bus manufacturers such as New Flyer and Nova Bus are able to produce a bus that can have a longer charge that could be able to last all day and are able to climb big hills at the same speed as all the other cars I don't think this will happen. By 2050 I expect to see a bus capable of doing so but I don't believe the fleet will be fully electric by then. Currently, based on what electric buses are capable of, I think the only transit centers with routes that will benefit from electric buses is VTC, HTC and parts of RTC, STC and PCTC. In conclusion I find this goal pretty unrealistic, at least in the near future based on the electric buses currently on the market

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4 hours ago, tbodnar2003 said:

So apparently Translink is going to replace all their diesel buses with electric buses. I don't know what this will entail, or if the hybrids and shuttles will be at risk. this is for updates and thoughts. info on procurement, and opinions are welcomed.

2050 is 30 years from now. Plenty of time to come up with a battery bus that can run all day on a single charge without too many issues

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I personally feel like it could be done pretty quickly - simply install chargers at major transit hubs - then the buses can either do a range of about 30 miles plus 5-6 minutes of charging during layovers (which may require slight schedule changes but nothing drastic) or they can do 140 miles plus 30 or so minutes (from what I've heard) of charging. This would require more frequent coach changes during routes, but I personally feel like it could viably happen. There are no routes in the Translink network close to 60 miles even (which is less than half of the range), so all routes can easily be operated roundtrip with current battery buses. This would make it pretty easy, and it would be even better when battery technology improves.

Currently I don't believe Translink has plans on replacing the community shuttles, but there are definitely options to replace them with battery buses - including many with well over 120 miles of range.

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The Mayor's council agenda etc. contains a presentation and then a very detailed consultancy report. There were three possible approaches to fleet electrification in the initial period to 2030

-cautious, which would only include purchase of 95 battery buses ("BEBs") by 2029

-progressive, which called for 314 BEBs by 2029

-aggressive, which called for 635 BEBs by 2029

The recommendation is for the aggressive strategy, which Translink recognises has the highest cost and highest risk.

While it's good that the fleet plan also sees renewal of the trolleybus fleet towards the end of the decade, it doesn't read as if they really did any in depth research into the potential for battery-trolleybuses with In Motion Charging. For example could the additional electric buses be a mix of say 535 BEBs and an extra 100 trolleybuses to add to the fleet renewal programme?

https://www.translink.ca/-/media/Documents/about_translink/governance_and_board/council_minutes_and_reports/2020/February/agenda_mayors_council_public_mtg_20200221.pdf

8 hours ago, Thomasw said:

 In conclusion I find this goal pretty unrealistic, at least in the near future based on the electric buses currently on the market

Given the low levels of activity and availability on the route 100 trial so far, it seems almost heroic to suggest that the new Marpole Transit Center should be all BEB from 2023 onwards - that's about 300 buses.

Also the report suggests that BEBs that currently cost about $1m will only cost around $300,000 each by the middle of the decade. I can't see that as realistic.

I guess we shall just have to wait and see what really happens, in the light of experience, especially the outcome of the route 100 trial when  the next 15 BEBs arrive to operate it 100% electric.

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update from Translink: 

"The Low Carbon Fleet Strategy calls for investments in several key areas:

  • Procurement of up to 635 battery electric buses to replace diesel and diesel-hybrid fleet
  • Installation of charging infrastructure on-route and at depots
  • Construction of BC’s first fully electric capable bus depot

TransLink will require $95 million to $447 million in new funding over the next ten years to proceed with the strategy." 

copied from the buzzer blog

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As much as i know the outcome is going to come either way, i prefer if they stick to the lower investment options, i will be sad if all buses operating on our roadways are 100% electric. There should be a healthy mix. The depots that use Diesel bus right now should be electric, but the depots with CNG/RNG are already using low carbon vehicles. Hope CNG vehicles continue to operate beyond the current life cycle : )

 

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CNG/RNG isn't really better for the environment. Sure, it produces somewhat lower levels of CO2 emissions, but the CNG itself has to come from somewhere, which is usually fracking, which can have very serious negative consequences. What we need is full electric - it's a bigger upfront investment but will cost far less in the long run due to operating costs and will just about eliminate emissions for CMBC/Translink.

This is incredibly important, especially in an era where global warming is finally taking the spotlight. The buses won't be perfect, sure, but they'll be far better than the current alternatives.

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8 hours ago, Zortan said:

CNG/RNG isn't really better for the environment. Sure, it produces somewhat lower levels of CO2 emissions, but the CNG itself has to come from somewhere, which is usually fracking, which can have very serious negative consequences. What we need is full electric - it's a bigger upfront investment but will cost far less in the long run due to operating costs and will just about eliminate emissions for CMBC/Translink.

This is incredibly important, especially in an era where global warming is finally taking the spotlight. The buses won't be perfect, sure, but they'll be far better than the current alternatives.

Well, the process used to make the batteries for the buses does just as much damage to the environment as fracking, so you can't win there. If it is about saving the environment as a whole, we should go back to horse and buggy and live off the land. Otherwise, it does not really matter what you do. I say do whatever makes you sleep at night on that one.

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Well, if you look at it that way - saying batteries have the same impact as fracking (which they don't since it's mining that's in more remote areas and doesn't cause as much harm + earthquakes etc.), but let's for the sake of argument say batteries are just as bad as Natural Gas to get out of the ground. Then you look at the fact that batteries have zero pollution for the rest of their lives, and when they reach their 10-ish year expiration date (depends on the battery), they can be 100% recycled into a brand-new battery without needing to dig up anything else.

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14 hours ago, cleowin said:

As much as i know the outcome is going to come either way, i prefer if they stick to the lower investment options, i will be sad if all buses operating on our roadways are 100% electric. There should be a healthy mix. The depots that use Diesel bus right now should be electric, but the depots with CNG/RNG are already using low carbon vehicles. Hope CNG vehicles continue to operate beyond the current life cycle : )

 

idk why they're scrapping the hybrids. we did also recently (2016) receive XD40's for RTC, and if they get rid of those, it's a huge waste of money. around the CNG point, as far as i know, XN40's and the XDE60's (2015 and on) are not on the chopping block

14 hours ago, Zortan said:

CNG/RNG isn't really better for the environment. Sure, it produces somewhat lower levels of CO2 emissions, but the CNG itself has to come from somewhere, which is usually fracking, which can have very serious negative consequences. What we need is full electric - it's a bigger upfront investment but will cost far less in the long run due to operating costs and will just about eliminate emissions for CMBC/Translink.

This is incredibly important, especially in an era where global warming is finally taking the spotlight. The buses won't be perfect, sure, but they'll be far better than the current alternatives.

yea. it's clean-ER. it's certianly not CLEAN, but it's CLEANER

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Cleaner isn't enough lol. Hybrid and CNG buses have emissions reductions of between 20 and 35 % compared to diesel buses. Additionally, they cost more due to their different technologies, while battery buses may be expensive now but will end up being much cheaper as time goes on. And it's not a "waste" to retire a bus that's costing TL more than the rest of the fleet and is emitting more. Even if it doesn't find a buyer at another transit agency, the buses will be replaced by something much more efficient, cheaper to run and better in most ways.

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3 hours ago, tbodnar2003 said:

idk why they're scrapping the hybrids. we did also recently (2016) receive XD40's for RTC, and if they get rid of those, it's a huge waste of money. around the CNG point, as far as i know, XN40's and the XDE60's (2015 and on) are not on the chopping block

 

To be clear, even the most "aggressive" option  under the plan does not require any existing bus to be scrapped before the end of its useful life. The "aggressive" plan calls for the purchase of 635 battery buses to replace a slightly smaller number of diesel and diesel hybrid buses that are due for retirement by 2030. Your 2016 XD40s would probably be safe until about 2032.

 

2 hours ago, Zortan said:

Cleaner isn't enough lol. Hybrid and CNG buses have emissions reductions of between 20 and 35 % compared to diesel buses. Additionally, they cost more due to their different technologies, while battery buses may be expensive now but will end up being much cheaper as time goes on. And it's not a "waste" to retire a bus that's costing TL more than the rest of the fleet and is emitting more. Even if it doesn't find a buyer at another transit agency, the buses will be replaced by something much more efficient, cheaper to run and better in most ways.

Battery buses may become cheaper as production volumes increase  but we cannot be certain that they will ever eliminate the premium price over diesel buses. For example many of the minerals used to make batteries come from poor and sometimes war-torn countries so there could be a risk of supply interruptions caused by wars, just as the oil price spike in the 1970s because of the Six Day War and the arrival of OPEC.

Even the Mayor's Council and Translink admit that the "aggressive" plan has the highest degree of risk e.g. technical and financial. It will be very interesting to see how things develop.

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I don't think that would work because demand is increasing rapidly so if for example the world demand for batteries is 4 times greater in 2025 than it is now, the material in recycled batteries won't go far to meet manufacturers' needs. 

My main point is just to  avoid  being over optimistic that everything is going to be easy/cheap or wonderful by 2030 or whenever. All sorts of things can happen in between.

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Yes true I agree, but that doesn't mean we should abandon a promising project because of risk imo. Sure it does come with some risk, but it also has the biggest reward and is the direction we really need to be moving at the end of the day so battery buses are honestly the best way to do it - we can't exactly trolly-ify every route lol

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I agree, make a start, which will be to equip the new Marpole TC as an all-electric garage, take it from there and see how things develop.

12 minutes ago, Zortan said:

.. we can't exactly trolly-ify every route lol

Even I accept that, but as things develop, I would like to see a selective use of battery-trolleybuses too. Just a small proportion of the whole but there could be some sensible opportunities.

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I definitely agree with the dual mode buses - a much better use of existing wires and will allow the buses to go longer between longer breaks to re-charge, or even eliminating charging breaks altogether with the in-motion charging.

The Marpole TC is a good idea, but I would like to see the buses on widespread use soon, out of other garages as well. Of course it'll take time, but with the aggressive plan Marpole is probably about half of the total battery fleet.

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On 2/26/2020 at 5:52 AM, martin607 said:

<big snip>

While it's good that the fleet plan also sees renewal of the trolleybus fleet towards the end of the decade, it doesn't read as if they really did any in depth research into the potential for battery-trolleybuses with In Motion Charging. For example could the additional electric buses be a mix of say 535 BEBs and an extra 100 trolleybuses to add to the fleet renewal programme?

<big snip>

Don't the current trolleys already have a form of in-motion charging, however modest?

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35 minutes ago, Mark Walton said:

Don't the current trolleys already have a form of in-motion charging, however modest?

Very modest. The range is only a couple km — or rather, was when the batteries were new — and the air compressors don’t run from the EPU, so you’re limited to whatever braking air was in the system when you lost power. It’s enough to navigate a brief section of de-energized overhead or get clear of an intersection after blowing your poles, but not much else.

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53 minutes ago, Mark Walton said:

Don't the current trolleys already have a form of in-motion charging, however modest?

I am talking about serious long range capability at full speed. For a large conurbation like Vancouver, you might specify an off-wire range of 20 km. The batteries used in battery-trolleybuses with in motion charging would be just the same as used on battery buses only smaller with say 50kWh capacity. Lithium titanate oxide is probably the best chemistry because it tolerates a very high number of discharge cycles. Ideal for a trolleybus that would be recharging repeatedly over a service day.

 

Correction to my earlier post above. Having got further into the report, I now read that the capital bid is for the additional cost compared with buying diesel hybrid again. The estimated purchase price is $1.1m for a 12m depot charging bus and $0.95m for a 12m on-route charging bus.

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4 hours ago, martin607 said:

I am talking about serious long range capability at full speed. For a large conurbation like Vancouver, you might specify an off-wire range of 20 km. The batteries used in battery-trolleybuses with in motion charging would be just the same as used on battery buses only smaller with say 50kWh capacity. Lithium titanate oxide is probably the best chemistry because it tolerates a very high number of discharge cycles. Ideal for a trolleybus that would be recharging repeatedly over a service day.

 

Correction to my earlier post above. Having got further into the report, I now read that the capital bid is for the additional cost compared with buying diesel hybrid again. The estimated purchase price is $1.1m for a 12m depot charging bus and $0.95m for a 12m on-route charging bus.

So then in the grand scheme of things that's not a significant price increase.

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