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Electric Bus Breaks EV Mileage Record

A Proterra electric bus has set a new EV record for distance traveled in one day by logging more than 700 miles in a 24 hour period. Its batteries didn’t need to store all the energy, though, as the bus has several charging stations along the route. Strategically placed charging stations allow the bus to grab a few kWh of energy at each passenger stop, and provide near-complete charging at five to ten minute “layover” stops. Periodic charging lowers the battery weight and cost, giving increased range and a shorter payback period.

In addition to going the distance, these buses rack up an impressive 27 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), more than five times the fuel economy of comparable sized diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. How good is that? My four-cylinder, five-passenger SUV gets about 27 MPG on the highway!

Six US cities are currently using Proterra buses, and two more have recently signed contracts to purchase them.

Image credit: Proterra

The Hardware

Sporting a high-efficiency 150 kW (200 hp) electric drive motor, the bus is capable of reaching highway speeds, although for the record-breaking test, it averaged 29 mph. To reduce weight, its body is made of a composite material: balsa wood surrounded by carbon fiber and infused with resin. This gives a one inch structure that has the strength of a 2.5 inch I-beam. High-power wiring allows for a ten-minute fast-charge.
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