Proterra Battery Electric Buses: A Piece of the Real Solution to the HOV lane Puzzle

proterra-catalyst-e2-bus

If you have ever been stuck behind a bus in the HOV lane, you know that the buses are a major reason HOV lanes don’t perform as well as other lanes. They typically carry about 1200 vehicles per hour (VPH) before dropping below 45mph while general purpose lanes (GPL) carry about 600 more VPH at the same speed.  And the big reason buses go so slow are:

  1. Bus drivers are required by transit policy to stay within 20mph of the adjacent lane. So if the GPL beside them is going 20mph, the buses must stay under 40 even with nothing blocking them.
  2. Buses accelerate slowly and climb hills poorly because they are under-powered as shown in this video.

The first issue can be addressed by building the HOV lanes to Federal specifications that call for a 4 foot separation between HOV and GPL. The toll lanes coincidentally do this because the buses drive in the left lane where there are two HOT lanes.

The second issue can be addressed by investing in the new battery-electric buses by Proterra.  This press release from Proterra  explains just how powerful these electric vehicles really are:

Proterra’s DuoPower drivetrain features two electric motors that deliver an impressive 510 horsepower, accelerating a [Proterra] Catalyst bus from 0-20 mph in 4.5 seconds, while also achieving an industry-leading 26.1 MPGe. In addition, it can propel a bus up a 26 percent grade, which is more than twice the performance of the average 35- or 40-foot diesel bus, and 72 percent better than competing electric transit vehicles, making it an ideal option for transit agencies with steep hills.

Our problem isn’t traffic.  It is getting people who know how to find Real solutions, not gimmicks like charging money for one lane will make them all go faster.  Please share this and call your legislators demanding these solutions.

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