Electric Buses: Hybrid Buses May Need to Step Aside
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, hybrid bus systems were being developed at a feverish pace, based on low emission and higher fuel efficiency requirements from many major cities in the U.S. Market. However, as transportation technologies march forward, it appears that hybrid bus systems may experience serious competition from pure electric bus systems. Many countries external of the U.S. are venturing into the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) market to improve air quality (i.e., China, Singapore, etc.) this is driving the need for bus fleets with ZEV systems. Companies such as BYD and Proterra have quickly caught the eye of several U.S. cities that are shifting from traditional diesel powered buses directly to ZEV bus systems, eliminating the “in between step” of using hybrid technology.
The reason that ZEV buses can be utilized is that Lithium battery technology has superior specific energy and energy density that reduces the size and mass (weight) of the battery pack system. Therefore, enormous battery systems are not necessary for a bus system due to the advantages of Lithium technology. This alters the need for large battery packs which may no longer be necessary for bus systems. If high power wireless charging technology is placed on bus routes and in depot sub-stations to permit fast charging of the battery pack, large battery packs will no longer be necessary. Also, logistics would be significantly easier because, requiring the bus to return to the main depot for charging would not be necessary. While this is occurring on a global scale, keep in mind there are and will continue to be other technologies that will be considered for charging batteries along a bus route. Overhead wire systems located only at bus stops or sub-depot locations can also be used to rapidly charge the batteries. This would eliminate the need for modifying streets or roads when installing wireless charging pads.
Traditional vehicle purchasing may experience some significant changes during the next several years and throughout this next decade. In fact, major automotive OEMs are betting on it. As companies like Uber and Zip Car (ride sharing and vehicle sharing) services continually resonate with younger generations and environmentally conscience consumers, the landscape of vehicle ownership will also change. In lieu of an individual investing in the purchasing of a vehicle that may only be utilized a small percentage of the time, many prospective buyers are now turning toward ride and vehicle sharing and only pay for “when” the vehicle is used. Automotive OEMs have heard this message loud and clear. Obviously, if this type of trend continues, the OEM sales numbers could decrease and shift from primarily private ownership to a significant volume of corporate ownership. This is one reason why the OEMs are partnering with Autonomous vehicle systems suppliers to “hedge their bet” in the event that the ride and vehicle sharing trend growth continues to grow and expand at rates that increase the relevance to the transportation market.
GM has recently announced a partnership with Lyft to begin navigating the waters of Uber and Zip. The $500M GM investment in Lyft indicates that the automotive OEM is serious about expanding into the rental vehicle market but, more importantly, it indicates GM’s interest in moving deeply into the Autonomous vehicle space. Most companies that have considered or that are currently in the Autonomous vehicle space have targeted the use of battery electric vehicles as the primary platform, such as the GM Bolt. Lyft and GM believe that the Express Drive program will assist both companies implement technology infrastructure for fleets of self-driving in the future. However, the immediate focus of the Lyft Express Drive program is place more Lyft vehicles into service.
FutureTech announces the expansion of training division 'Access' to include online (instructor-led) technical training in Hybrid, EREV, Plug-In, Battery Electric, and Fuel Cell Vehicle Systems
Las Vegas, NV (October 11, 2016) - FutureTech is expanding its Electric Drive Training division Access, with 27 online instructor-led training courses for Hybrid, Battery Electric, EREV, Plug-In, and Fuel Cell Vehicle diagnostics and repair. The expansion, dubbed Access Online, has begun taking registrations for its first-quarter 2017 training courses, with additional courses being added quarterly thereafter. The courses are conveniently timed for evening sessions and are run in 1-hour increments.
Early-bird registrants can enjoy 25% off of all Access Online training courses until November 30th, 2016 with no promo code required. Courses start at just $52 (including discount), and range from 1-5 one-hour sessions per course. Additional discounts and special pricing are available for bulk registrations of 10 or more by contacting Access Online.
Unlike Access’ free 30-minute webinars that focus primarily on technical theory and basic systems overviews, Access Online’s technical training courses will emphasize practical application of diagnostic and repair techniques and tools, including scan tool data and PIDs. At the conclusion of each training course, participants will be able to take their new skills back to their businesses and apply it to existing needs. In fact, each participant will receive a Certificate of Completion after successfully concluding each complete training course, which can be applied toward NATEF credits and other automotive professional development requirements.
Technical training topics include but are not limited to:
Access has recruited three additional instructors to lead the online training courses: Yves Racette, Paul Pelly, and Alan Nagel will facilitate the courses alongside FutureTech’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Mark Quarto. Participants can expect the same high-quality training courses in Access’ online sessions as have been experienced in hands-on training.
Access Online’s training courses are perfect for automotive technicians, shop owners, service advisors, educators, new and pre-owned car dealers, fleets, and other automotive service professionals who find themselves tight on time and budgetary flexibility. Although hands-on instruction is the automotive industry’s gold-standard for training, Access is prepared to deliver quality solutions to those who are unable to travel to a classroom.
Individuals who are interested in a preview of Access' hands-on training are invited to two free hands-on training sessions in Las Vegas: Service Advisor and manager Training for Hybrid Electric Vehicles (October 31, 2016), and Battery Testing and Installation (November 4, 2016).
FutureTech has a combined 70 years’ experience in developing and delivering Advanced Vehicle Technology solutions. By understanding that the industry is composed of many equally important pieces, FutureTech can deliver multi-faceted solutions to automotive service shops, fleets, distributors, manufacturers, educators, and more. FutureTech meets the demands of today's automotive service professionals while developing tomorrow's advanced technology solutions.
Wireless Charging: Seamless and Effortless Battery Charging
As with most of the technologies associated with Plug-In and Electric Vehicles, the battery pack charging technologies are changing with blazing speed. Currently, the conductive (cable plug-in) systems are marching toward ever-higher charging rates. With most SAE and CHAdeMO conductive Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) systems capable of 50kW – 100kW power, Wireless Charging is now beginning to gain traction in the vehicle battery charging market. Wireless Charging systems have obvious advantages by not requiring a vehicle operator to make a direct connection between the charging station and the vehicle. Electric vehicles can have a vehicle pad mounted under the vehicle so it can receive power after the vehicle is driven over the base pad to initialize Wireless Charging. The vehicle or your smart phone will assist in positioning the vehicle pad with the base pad. However, currently Wireless systems are not capable of delivering the level of kW power when compared to conductive systems. For example, the Qualcomm HALO system can currently provide 3.7kW, 7.4kW, 11kW, and 22kW Wireless Charging.
The Wireless Charging system has one significant advantage when compared to conductive charging systems – it can be located within a road or street to permit quick charging when a vehicle is within range. As an example, Wireless Charging is perfect for electric buses. When the bus has stopped to pick-up passengers at a bus stop location, the bus can charge while it is taking on passengers. Also, the bus can charge when the driver is on a rest break. Having Wireless Charging locations along a bus route, it eliminates the necessity of returning the bus to the depot to be charged at a conductive charging station which, is a significant advantage and convenience.
Register for Training Related to Electric Drive Vehicle Charging:
Level 1, 2, 3 Plug-In and Electric Vehicle On-Board Charging Systems and Chargers (3-Part Online Training Series)
Innovating Vehicle Electrification Technology: Hybrid Electric, Fuel Cell, and beyond.