With ZEPS on Old Chassis, CCW Hopes to Make Transit History
Southern California’s Complete Coach Works is promoting a 100% battery bus, built on used diesel chassis, that with a price of about $500,000 could revolutionize all-electric transit, with single-charge range better than 100 miles.
Development of the Zero Emission Propulsion System was funded entirely by CCW. Ben Franklin Transit of eastern Washington State is the lead customer, buying a ZEPS bus based on one of its old Gillig vehicles with Calstart support, expecting delivery in late March.
“Our research started with a defined goal to develop a remanufactured all-electric transit bus, one which agencies can afford and operate without limitations of adjusting their routes, or installing expensive charging stations,” CCW sales and marketing VP Macy Neshati says in a release. “Our Zero Emission Propulsion System, dubbed ‘ZEPS’ for short, is the world’s first and only remanufactured all-electric transit bus.”
“Our goal,” Neshati says in a Jay Leno’s Garage video, is “a bus that gets out to about 120 miles.”
“This is our first effort,” he says of the prototype vehicle that’s been tested by the City of Gardena and by AVTA, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Lancaster, Calif.
120 Miles Targeted
“It’s getting about 90 miles,” Neshati told Leno, “with AC on full-time.” And, he said, “You get rid of oil changes.” And, “We should double the brake life.”
“As a practical matter, this is the best of recycling,” says Dick Ciccone, director of fleet, facilities and special projects with Ben Franklin Transit in Richland, Wash. His agency supplied CCW with a 1995 Gillig that had logged some 386,000 miles on diesel and was otherwise a candidate for the scrap heap.
The veteran Gillig is being fully restored by CCW, with battery drive, and is to be delivered late next month with a new title and VIN/Vehicle Identification Number.
With expected range of as much as 120 miles, CCW says that the first production bus will be able to run all day on an eight-mile Ben Franklin loop route.
‘We Will Save’
“We will save on this bus over 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year,” Ciccone says. He notes that his agency enjoys some of the nation’s cheapest electricity: “We are energy-rich,” he told F&F, with nuclear, solar, wind and hydro power making up the region’s mix.
Ciccone credits CCW president and CEO Dale Carson with bankrolling the ZEPS development effort.
CCW’s first ZEPS bus, featured in the Jay Leno video, is based on a 1996 New Flyer. CCW gutted the vehicle and replaced its conventional parts with an all-electric drive, using KAM and other components from China. The vehicle’s 360-volt air-cooled driveline is powered by a 213-kilowatt-hour lithium battery array comprising 12 battery packs, all with full BMS – battery management system. The vehicle can charge in as little as four hours using a three-phase, 100-amp, 480-volt charger.
‘A Perfect Solution’
The entire job was done in about ten says.
“Remanufacturing is a perfect solution to the industry’s current problems,” CCW VP Neshati says in the firm’s ZEPS announcement. “It reduces waste at land-fills, transforms buses into like-new condition, and is nearly half the cost of a new bus.”
“Our analysis shows that ZEPS can save $330,000 over seven-year period on the fuel and maintenance cost as compared to diesel buses,” CCW says.
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Source: Complete Coach Works with Fleets & Fuels follow-up
photos and graphic courtesy CCW and Jay Leno’s Garage