Google and CEC Back 100% Electric Shuttles in Mountain View
Four new 100% battery electric community shuttle buses, funded by Google as the heart of a two-year, California Energy Commission-backed pilot project, are on the road in Mountain View, Calif.
Known as the Mountain View Community Shuttles, the white-and-blue buses feature a modular, plug-and-play electric Powertrain Control System electric powertrain technology from Motiv Power Systems (F&F, August 14, 2014).
The Motiv ePCS “is the only product suite in the industry that electrifies truck or bus chassis as a ship-though option, using a variety of commercially-available battery packs and motors,” Motiv says. The idea is a fully battery electric drivetrain, the components of which can be replaced as warranted to take advantage of new technological improvements or changing operator needs.
Similar to a CNG Upfit
The Mountain View buses are built on a Ford E450 chassis, with Motiv ePCS and Ameritrans 285 shuttle bus body. “The Motiv ePCS, battery packs, and a motor were installed to replace the engine and transmission of a new incomplete chassis in a ship-through modification,” Motiv says. Motiv used Fiamm sodium-nickel batteries for the Mountain View vehicles.
“This process, common in the truck and bus industry, is similar to a compressed natural gas ship-through modification and allows for minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the final vehicle,” the firm explains.
“Existing truck and bus builders who already use incomplete chassis can use the Motiv ePCS product suite to build and sell electric versions of their existing truck and bus models.”
‘We Don’t Need to Design New Vehicles’
The Mountain View Community Shuttle service is aimed at moving residents and visitors between neighborhoods, shopping centers, medical complexes, town facilities and recreation areas.
“With these four buses, thousands of residents will get to experience firsthand what an electric bus can offer,” Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz says in his company’s announcement. “We don’t need to design new vehicles from the ground up to break their reliance on fossil fuel and offer zero-emission vehicle options.”
Motiv notes that while the costs of the two year pilot program are supported by Google, the electrification of the shuttles was made possible through funding from the California Energy Commission.
‘The Perfect Showcase’
CEC money allowed the bus and service dealer, ABC Companies, to purchase the batteries, as well as the electric powertrains, and provide Google zero emission shuttles for the same cost as their fossil fuel counterparts. “We’ve been watching the development of electric buses over the past few years,” Jon Savitz, senior VP for business development with ABC Companies, says in the Motiv release.
“Google’s commitment to clean, efficient transportation and their company wide culture of promoting new technologies gave ABC’s Ameritrans subsidiary an opportunity to apply Motiv’s fully electric drive system to their shuttle vehicles,” Savitz said.
“The Mountain View Community shuttles are the perfect showcase to apply this technology to our buses, and bring cleaner public transportation to the residents and visitors of the city.”
Ameritrans is based in Elkhart, Ind.
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Source: Motiv Power Systems with Fleets & Fuels follow-up