Seattle-Area Agency Replacing NiMH on Allison Drive New Flyers
Indiana-based EnerDel is getting ready to supply lithium ion batteries as replacements for the Panasonic nickel metal hydride batteries in New Flyer buses with Allison parallel hybrid drives. The firm’s first target is King County Metro in Seattle.
The area has upwards of 770 hybrid buses, and will replace batteries as they fail or reach their end of life, says engineering supervisor George Stites. Many are sixty-foot articulated vehicles dating from 2004.
The agency estimates the replacement activity at about 48 battery packs per year. They’ll be purchased primarily on the basis of cost, Stites says.
‘Issue-Free and Failure-Free,’ EnerDel Says
EnerDel has the edge as its PP320-689-C Vigor+ lithium ion packs, designed as a drop-in replacement for the buses’ original NiMH ESS (energy storage system) units, have already passed muster with the fleet: “After over 21,000 miles of running issue-free and failure-free in one of the most demanding terrains in North America, we can confirm that our lithium-ion energy storage system offers a superior retrofit solution,” EnerDel transportation and aftermarket sales VP Tomasz Poznar said in a release late last year.
King County Metro has described the criteria for competing suppliers to match the EnerDel offering on an “Equal Products” basis. “The battery must be bid as a complete ESS system ready to connect to the Allison system,” the agency says, noting that “the ESS system supplied shall fit in the existing footprint of the Allison EP40/50 ESS system… and able to produce reporting diagnostic codes and computer assisted diagnosis indiscernible from the current Allison NiMH battery.”
“This will allow King County to replace the current nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries with lithium-ion batteries in the current New Flyer Allison Hybrid System and in future hybrid fleets in order to deliver longer life, higher reliability and better performance,” the agency says.
More Capacity and Lower Cost
One of the stipulations is that the buses be able to travel on 100% electric power through a mile-long Seattle transit tunnel.
“The EnerDel ESS used in the King County bus is rated 19 kilowatt-hours,” the manufacturer says, “thereby delivering over three times the rated energy of the original battery.
The higher energy rating will ensure longer life and provide more available power with a weight savings of over 100 kilograms compared to the NiMH-based solution.”
“EnerDel’s PP320-689-C Vigor+ ESS (formerly the PPA300-689) fits the bill with its retrofit design with the ease of a drop-in replacement that provided the additional advantage of a lower price-point than the NiMH-based options,” EnerDel says.
King County is hosting a pre-bid conference this coming Wednesday, April 16.
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Source: EnerDel with Fleets & Fuels follow-up