Public transit is on its way to a fossil fuel-less future. As of April, just under half of public buses were using hybrid or alternative fuel technologies, but a new bus from Proterra may be the next stop on the green transit route.
Unveiled last week at the annual meeting of the American Public Transit Association, the Catalyst E2 is an electric bus intended for long city routes. Its battery holds up to 660 kilowatt hours of charge — the Tesla Model S, for comparison, holds 100 kWh — and that means it could reasonably run 350 miles on a single charge, more than enough, Proterra thinks, to handle even the toughest bus routes, especially since the bus has put 600 miles behind it on a single charge on a Michelin testing track.
Areas just outside of Los Angeles will see the Catalyst E2 first, as Foothill Transit will put the bus into circulation next year, according to Wired. While the Catalyst carries a hefty $800,000 price tag, the lower costs of fuel and maintenance plus, as Wired notes, local and federal subsidies for electric transit could ease the sticker shock. Also helping matters, provided Proterra's energy projections hold true, is that there won't be any need to build bus charging stations along assigned routes; the buses can be plugged in and charged up overnight for 3 to 5 hours before heading back out onto the roads.