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Various electric buses at TSA.

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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:45 am

Meanwhile in innovative Sydney, we still order Euro V diesels churning in their own waste using the same method as Holden's 202 six in the late 70s using EGR.
Australians don't want to hear about better ways unless it's the UK, U.S or maybe China because they are our biggest trading partner (unfortunately). The Czech Republic is way down on our list of emulating, they may as well be in the Andromeda galaxy and not this same Earth we stand on, such is the ingrained ways of rank Anglo Saxon ignorance here.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:12 pm

In Transit wrote:
Tongans101 wrote:Everyone in Australia seems to have range anxiety. You don't need high range for city buses. There are many designs with fewer batteries that are fast charge through OPPCharge systems which will make the buses lighter and cheaper.

As for UK and Europe, not only is the demand bigger but the funding is also available. Australian governments, state and Federal don't have the funds to buy fleets of alternate fuel buses.
I’m not sure what you’re describing as “high range”, but even CNG buses (generally limited to 8-10 hours of realistic use, depending on a few factors) introduce inefficiencies in scheduling and ops. There most certainly is a need for “all day” range in city buses to maximise efficiency of operations in many circumstances. Anything less is going backwards - and its certainly appropriate to have “range anxiety”. Otherwise we just bake in long term inefficiencies, and in the long run this means less service for a given budget.

I agree in regards to "range anxiety" being an appropriate concern of the industry. It isn't uncommon for frontline buses (artic or rigid) to be expected to do up to 18hrs of work each day, perhaps even more in cities with 24hr bus services. Assuming the bus goes back to the depot, and the driver isn't relieved on the road, this doesn't necessarily leave a lot of time for washing and refuelling as it is. The alternative to this would be purchasing more buses and having a higher ratio of spares? It would be political suicide for the government official who says we need to purchase more vehicles to do exactly the same work.

The concerns raised about battery life being negatively affected by fast-recharging technology are interesting. As an electric bus ages, its range is going to steadily decrease by some amount. Fast recharging solutions sound as though they give a nice short-term gain (range), but will bring forward the (costly) replacement of the batteries. This certainly is not an ideal scenario from an environmental perspective - we should be trying to conserve resources and maximise their usable lifetime. Judging by what has been said in this thread, it seems the equipment manufacturers are aware of this problem and are working at rectifying it.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby moa999 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:50 pm

300km range for the Solaris Urbino 18 in this article, with new heavier battery packs shortly allowing 550km
https://www.sustainable-bus.com/news/so ... h-battery/
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:19 pm

moa999 wrote:300km range for the Solaris Urbino 18 in this article, with new heavier battery packs shortly allowing 550km
https://www.sustainable-bus.com/news/so ... h-battery/

Yes things are moving along well by the look of it, but we need to see results in operation in different cities. I would think that Prague would definitely suffer from "range anxiety", not only because of the intensity and loads of the operation (plus air conditioning), but because of its many hills and its 24 hour operation. Every city has its different requirements but you'd want your electric bus to be able to meet the toughest requirements just as a diesel does.

The other issue that I think maybe isn't addressed rigorously enough is that static opportunity charging relies very much on the buses running to time. The whole idea of recovery time is to absorb lateness by shortening the layover so that the bus can depart again on time. If you have a 7 minute layover and the bus is 5 minutes late, what happens with your charge top-up? You can't really increase the length of the layover otherwise you'll need more buses to operate the route and the general trend nowadays is to reduce the size of bus fleets and get more productivity out of them (= keeping them on the move). The development of in-motion charging is a product of this. Many operations are understandably averse to excessive time standing still and downtime in general.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Transport Buff » Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:22 pm

Interesting rare sight from Anytrip:
New Electric BYD Gemilang on L39 from Martin Place to Mortlake. Also, previous trip was on 438 from Abbotsford to Martin Place.
I wonder if this means the 4 new Transit Systems electric buses trial will be extended to other routes, as well as the original 389, 431, 433, 447, 470?
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:54 pm

Wouldn't it be funny if one of these buses carried AOA for Duracell or Eveready batteries some day. :lol:
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:29 pm

My mini-review on the Gemilang electric buses at TSA:

Overall, great. So nice and quiet. The layout of seats is a bit nicer than the diesel Gemilangs TSA has, although it’s a negative from me there’s no front seats. The actual seats, individual ones, wow, I really like these and hope we can return to them permanently - there’s none of this “I’ll sit somewhere near halfway of the seat to discourage people from sitting next to me” that you definitely see commonly on the regular bench seats. Ride quality good, absolutely zero vibration when the bus is stationary.

But I’d also make particular mention to the fact that the buses have not only a display on board that lists the route, destination, time and next few stops, but also, digital voice announcements announcing the name of the next stop. The voice is the same man you hear on the light rail. Its like Metrobus 1.0 all over again - It’s neat!

While it looks like it can be found on several routes out of Leichhardt depot, 431 seems to be the most common route they appear on. No late evening runs.

I’d be more than happy to see more of these ordered in the meantime (although I’m guessing if it’s a trial, perhaps not)
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:23 pm

I'm interested to read any comparative opinions of the Yutong vs the BYD when the former enters service. I'm not in a rush to ride the BYD as I've ridden them many times at Sydney Airport and I assume that the only significant differences in the TSA model is conventional citybus seat layout, one less door (pity!) and an additional step introduced into the mountain climb at the rear.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby moa999 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:05 pm

I've seen them out on a few evening runs.

Ones out tonight on a 470/438/438/470 from what I can see - not due back to Lilyfield until 12.36

Mind you don't think I've seen more than two out at the same time.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby J_Busworth » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:21 pm

I rode on both the BYD and the Yutong one after the other last weekend. Both buses seemed to work relatively well, with the Yutong seemingly having a bit more power than the BYD. The BYD seemed to really struggle up hills whilst the Yutong seemed to do a lot better. Both of them were comfortable enough for their design and eerily quiet, but I guess that is to be expected.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Tongans101 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:54 pm

Merc1107 wrote:I agree in regards to "range anxiety" being an appropriate concern of the industry. It isn't uncommon for frontline buses (artic or rigid) to be expected to do up to 18hrs of work each day, perhaps even more in cities with 24hr bus services. Assuming the bus goes back to the depot, and the driver isn't relieved on the road, this doesn't necessarily leave a lot of time for washing and refuelling as it is. The alternative to this would be purchasing more buses and having a higher ratio of spares? It would be political suicide for the government official who says we need to purchase more vehicles to do exactly the same work.

The concerns raised about battery life being negatively affected by fast-recharging technology are interesting. As an electric bus ages, its range is going to steadily decrease by some amount. Fast recharging solutions sound as though they give a nice short-term gain (range), but will bring forward the (costly) replacement of the batteries. This certainly is not an ideal scenario from an environmental perspective - we should be trying to conserve resources and maximise their usable lifetime. Judging by what has been said in this thread, it seems the equipment manufacturers are aware of this problem and are working at rectifying it.


Battery life not only depends on the way you charge it but also the chemistry. You wouldn't want to fast charge a standard LiFe battery (lithium Iron) but you can fast charge quite comfortably a Lithium Titanate battery. Degradation occurs over the life of each type, but they will both last the same time LiFe normal charge vs Lithium Titanate fast charge. The benefit with fast charge and oppcharge is that you carry less batteries so the vehicle is lighter and can go further in relation to the energy it carries.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Tongans101 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:00 pm

tonyp wrote:
moa999 wrote:300km range for the Solaris Urbino 18 in this article, with new heavier battery packs shortly allowing 550km
https://www.sustainable-bus.com/news/so ... h-battery/

Yes things are moving along well by the look of it, but we need to see results in operation in different cities. I would think that Prague would definitely suffer from "range anxiety", not only because of the intensity and loads of the operation (plus air conditioning), but because of its many hills and its 24 hour operation. Every city has its different requirements but you'd want your electric bus to be able to meet the toughest requirements just as a diesel does.

The other issue that I think maybe isn't addressed rigorously enough is that static opportunity charging relies very much on the buses running to time. The whole idea of recovery time is to absorb lateness by shortening the layover so that the bus can depart again on time. If you have a 7 minute layover and the bus is 5 minutes late, what happens with your charge top-up? You can't really increase the length of the layover otherwise you'll need more buses to operate the route and the general trend nowadays is to reduce the size of bus fleets and get more productivity out of them (= keeping them on the move). The development of in-motion charging is a product of this. Many operations are understandably averse to excessive time standing still and downtime in general.


Actually current trend, especially in Europe, is to have more buses. Even in Sydney and other cities, the fleet increases year on year. Having done the research the layovers are generally 10 or more minutes. Plenty of time to charge and make up time if the bus is running late, and of course, there will always be calculated into the equation, additional battery power. Intelligent operators won't send their bus out fingers crossed it will make it!!

(in motion charging meaning wires or rails? not really a bus then is it?) and I would argue, again from experience that operators have buses standing still for around half the day.....have a look at a bus depot next time you're out and about or even take a ride from one end of a bus route to another...I saw two buses parked up on a fact finding trip I did one day, with a third looking for a spot to park up in a residential area at the last stop on the route...3 buses with seemingly nothing to do.....
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Tongans101 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:08 pm

tonyp wrote:I'm interested to read any comparative opinions of the Yutong vs the BYD when the former enters service. I'm not in a rush to ride the BYD as I've ridden them many times at Sydney Airport and I assume that the only significant differences in the TSA model is conventional citybus seat layout, one less door (pity!) and an additional step introduced into the mountain climb at the rear.


Plenty of differences in the TSA Gemilang BYD compared to the Carbridge Toro BYD at the airport. Both very different buses. The TSA version is a different chassis, upgraded battery system. Yes an extra step at the rear, certainly not a mountain climb as it meets all DDA requirements and is very similar to many other buses in operation all over Australia. No third door as that is very problematic in an engineering sense (another big hole in the structure that will need reinforcing in other areas) (yes European buses can have 3 doors but they have less stringent regulations.) City bus seat layout, no seats at the front due to the massive wheel arches on the BYD Chassis but some great luggage racks! Heaps more improvements and changes to lighten things up and reduce parts count.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:24 pm

J_Busworth wrote:I rode on both the BYD and the Yutong one after the other last weekend. Both buses seemed to work relatively well, with the Yutong seemingly having a bit more power than the BYD. The BYD seemed to really struggle up hills whilst the Yutong seemed to do a lot better. Both of them were comfortable enough for their design and eerily quiet, but I guess that is to be expected.

I haven't ridden the BYD on hills but, going by its performance on the Nowra-Kiama route, especially Mt Pleasant, the Yutong is definitely a real goer. I found the BYD (the Blue Emu ones) to have more motor noise on the inside compared to the Yutong which is very quiet by comparison. Both are quiet on the outside. Another area for comparison would be suspension. I find the BYDs a bit crashy overall, the Yutong good on the rear suspension but a bit harsh on the front. The interior outfit of the Yutongs is classier and more user-friendly (except for seat pitch), but I am comparing there with the airport BYDs and the route buses may have different outfit and finish which I haven't actually seen and, from Tongans101's explanation, I definitely need to ride the citybus one then.

The worst thing about the Yutong is that it's a low-floor model and the Australian demonstrator has a high floor at the back, which would have been a one-off manufacturing job by the Chinese factory. I only have a second-hand observation that it doesn't need to be high-floor but I still need somebody to find out what's under the rear aisle that caused them to use a high floor, if it isn't batteries.
Last edited by tonyp on Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:24 pm

Tongans101 wrote:Actually current trend, especially in Europe, is to have more buses. Even in Sydney and other cities, the fleet increases year on year. Having done the research the layovers are generally 10 or more minutes. Plenty of time to charge and make up time if the bus is running late, and of course, there will always be calculated into the equation, additional battery power. Intelligent operators won't send their bus out fingers crossed it will make it!!

(in motion charging meaning wires or rails? not really a bus then is it?)

Obviously not all European operators think the same way then. The ones I'm familiar with in Vienna and Prague are making their bus fleets more productive by moving more people with less buses on the same frequencies and in both cases over 50% of their fleets are artics. Generally the thinking in Europe is that if demand is rising so that you need more buses, then they will convert corridors, first to artics then to trams to increase the capacity, rather than adding more rigid buses. Using lots of small buses to move large numbers of people is very uneconomic, including labour cost. Australia is still following the inefficient UK way in this regard. Both Vienna and Prague have battery-electric buses serving quieter routes with opportunity charging, but in Prague this is not sufficient for the heavy operations. Vienna hasn't tackled electric artics yet but doubtless will eventually.

An in-motion charging bus is not really a bus? That's nonsense. If it doesn't run on rails and has rubber tyres it's a bus, regardless of how it gets its power. And many European operations would not function properly if they did not have at least three doors in a rigid and four or five in an artic. We need that here too (especially operations like the Perth CATs and the Gong Shuttle) but the industry isn't coming to the show. This sort of restriction propels the move to introduce trams. Bus industry's loss.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:07 pm

Will there be far less down time not getting oil changes and other sundry services with electric? Less wear and more durability with such straightforward mechanical parts.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:59 am

Swift wrote:Will there be far less down time not getting oil changes and other sundry services with electric? Less wear and more durability with such straightforward mechanical parts.

Higher capital cost but lower long-term operating costs and, typically with trolley buses (and it shouldn't be any different with battery buses), a longer vehicle life.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:23 am

It must feel odd not hearing an engine idle at stops. There really is no excuse not having full low floor in an electronic bus when they can achieve it with diesel!
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:35 am

Swift wrote:It must feel odd not hearing an engine idle at stops. There really is no excuse not having full low floor in an electronic bus when they can achieve it with diesel!

Tongans101 has explained that previously. What you gain by shedding an underfloor diesel engine you lose by having batteries under the rear floor to increase the range - unless action is taken to introduce opportunity charging points at bus termini (which typically means buses needing a pantograph on the roof). Or unless some small range compromise is accepted in order to keep all the batteries on the roof.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:02 am

What about solar panels and using the bus during daylight hours only lol?
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby In Transit » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:46 am

tonyp wrote:
Swift wrote:Will there be far less down time not getting oil changes and other sundry services with electric? Less wear and more durability with such straightforward mechanical parts.

Higher capital cost but lower long-term operating costs and, typically with trolley buses (and it shouldn't be any different with battery buses), a longer vehicle life.


Don’t tempt our governments with longer vehicle life. With some states already working on a 25 year fleet life, we are already getting too long out of buses!
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:14 pm

In Transit wrote:
Don’t tempt our governments with longer vehicle life. With some states already working on a 25 year fleet life, we are already getting too long out of buses!

Don't worry, that's about an electric bus life now too considering the wear and tear and general outdating of the interior and the electronics. Unlike trains and trams, it's not generally considered worthwhile doing half-life refresh of a bus, even if it is mechanically capable of running for much longer. Tne first fully low floor electric (trolley) buses from the 1990s in Europe are starting to be retired now, like their diesel counterparts. That's another issue with building new electric buses as low-entry only - within their service life they will become outdated as awareness of the need for accessibility throughout the bus takes hold (which it is already starting to in Victoria).

Interestingly, while looking things up I came across this - the first modern wire-free battery-electric bus operating on a regular route in Europe (and one of the first in the world) from 2004, about the same time that trolleybuses were being introduced with longer-range battery running. It was built using a Skoda 21Tr fully low floor trolleybus body and operated in the Czech city of Znojmo, designated Elektrobus 21Eb. It ran for several years but withdrawal of a government subsidy halted the project. It used nickel-cadmium batteries and had a range of about 130 km. At that stage, weight and battery range were issues and, as we see, the technology has moved along since then.

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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:13 pm

tonyp wrote:Don't worry, that's about an electric bus life now too considering the wear and tear and general outdating of the interior and the electronics.
The cynic in me suspects vehicle manufacturers will find other ways to build in obsolescence to electric vehicles to keep their revenue streams flowing healthily... Computers handling pathetic tasks like interior lighting control, destination controls and so on that eventually fail and can no longer be replaced, or require frequent software updates, etc.

Was reading recently the Skoda trolleybuses in San-Francisco which date from the 1990s, are being replaced. Given the simplicity of trolleybuses vs diesels or even battery buses, one would've thought they could get a much longer life out of these vehicles.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:01 pm

20 years seems to be the expected life of buses here in Australia with 25 being the limit to allow for bus shortages and to give a bit of leeway.
Running 30 year old becomes politically cancerous.
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Re: Various electric buses at TSA.

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:02 pm

A lot of trolley buses built twenty and more years ago have been prematurely replaced because they were high floor, including the San Francisco ones where the new buses also have Skoda drive. There were also quality and weight issues with their American manufacturer ETI. The Skodas in Boston are an unusual case as they're getting a half life modernisation by Skoda at 15 years.
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