Why Are We Still Waiting for Electric Buses? - Streets Blog

There are 300,000 battery powered electric buses in the world.

Only 1,600 are in the United States. China has 50 times that number.

Electric buses offer potentially big benefits for cities: Cleaner air, quieter neighborhoods, efficiency that saves $130,000 over the bus’s lifetime, and, of course, helping cities achieve zero carbon transportation.

But America remains on the sidelines.

What’s going on?

The nation is in the midst of a long-overdue attempt to bring its bus fleets from the 1940s to the 21st century. Even enthusiastic transit agencies are struggling, and some transit systems are only slowly waking up and smelling the electrons.

Albuquerque provides a disheartening example. The city’s bus rapid transit system — ART — suffered a major blow this month when 15 specially made electric buses had to be returned to the manufacturer, the Chinese firm Build Your Dreams, the world’s largest supplier of electric buses.

There were a number of design problems. But most notable was the range. The buses were only traveling 177 miles between charges. BYD had promised 250, Mayor Tim Keller told the Albuquerque Journal. The issue will delay the project for as much as 18 months.

There have been similar problems with buses from the same manufacturer in Los Angeles. “BYD’s electric buses are contending with a record of poor performance and mechanical problems,” the Los Angeles Times wrote in a May expose. L.A. Metro pulled five buses out of circulation, citing similar issues as Albuquerque. They weren’t reliable after 100 miles and were running well below the promised range, sometimes as little as 78 miles before charging, the Times reported.

Click here to read the full article: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/12/07/why-are-we-still-waiting-for-electric-buses/