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#1 Busjack

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 07:53 AM

The Tribune reports that the CTA got a TIGGER grant for two electric buses.

#2 rotjohns

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 10:58 AM

The Tribune reports that the CTA got a TIGGER grant for two electric buses.


Doesn't that seem wasteful to grant $2.2 million to buy only 2 electric buses? I really don't understand what's the big deal in this. That money could be used to buy several hybrid buses or more importantly, help fix broke CTA.

#3 Busjack

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:16 AM

Doesn't that seem wasteful to grant $2.2 million to buy only 2 electric buses? I really don't understand what's the big deal in this. That money could be used to buy several hybrid buses or more importantly, help fix broke CTA.

However, this would seem to be a criticism of the stimulus bill* or TIGGER in general, rather than the CTA.

If the federal government wants to print money to subsidize energy conservation, that's its business. It is also its business if it thinks that CTA can run a credible test on this bus. If the test is successful, maybe production models will be less.

This certainly wasn't unrestricted grant money that could be used for general capital or operating purposes.

I was thinking more on the lines that electricity doesn't necessarily reduce greenhouse emissions, if the electricity comes from a coal fired plant, but that may be another dispute.

* BTW, I thought that the ARRA money had been exhausted, which it has, but the FTA page cited above indicates that TIGGER got another appropriation.

#4 sw4400

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:39 AM

If they haven't picked a manufacturer yet, then what is this picture from? The livery looks like a twist on the CTA Red, White and Blue scheme and there is a CTA logo on the side. We don't yet have sliding doors on our fleet.

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#5 jacksone44

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 12:26 PM

However, this would seem to be a criticism of the stimulus bill* or TIGGER in general, rather than the CTA.

If the federal government wants to print money to subsidize energy conservation, that's its business. It is also its business if it thinks that CTA can run a credible test on this bus. If the test is successful, maybe production models will be less.

This certainly wasn't unrestricted grant money that could be used for general capital or operating purposes.

I was thinking more on the lines that electricity doesn't necessarily reduce greenhouse emissions, if the electricity comes from a coal fired plant, but that may be another dispute.

* BTW, I thought that the ARRA money had been exhausted, which it has, but the FTA page cited above indicates that TIGGER got another appropriation.


TIGER (Funds from ARRA) have been exhausted. TIGGER and TIGER II funds are now annual approriations.

#6 Busjack

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:59 PM

If they haven't picked a manufacturer yet, then what is this picture from? The livery looks like a twist on the CTA Red, White and Blue scheme and there is a CTA logo on the side. We don't yet have sliding doors on our fleet.

That appears to be the DesignLine that was tested here a couple of years ago, discussed in this thread.

One should know by now that the news media uses any file photography, regardless of relevance. In fact this was foreshadowed in this post.

#7 Busjack

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:48 AM

I can only find one site that makes all-electric Transit Buses at this time. The company is called Ebus, site here. The only possible hangup on two buses from this manufacturer are the buses are only 22-ft. long, 8-ft. shorter than the Optimas. They are located in Downey, California. Even though the CTA has mentioned using these buses on shorter runs, I don't think a 22-ft. 22 seat bus will do.


I guess they have an "all electric bus," but they were talking about it being for circulators, and having a 45 mile range. They also said that their bus was $295,000, while the grant was for $1 million each.

Hence, while I was talking probably experimental, I doubt that this is it. Also, I doubt that it will be limited to a domestic producer.

Also, after catching myself--Please use the correct topic.

Further update:
I wonder if this video, supposedly showing the application of Ebus technology to a Las Vegas NABI is just puffery, or something real. I'm betting on the former.

#8 BusHunter

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 02:10 PM

According to the press release, the 2 buses are supposed to be 40 footers. Kind of surprising, New Flyer doesn't make an all electric bus? I would think something would come from that direction. Being that they have a history in experimentation, thinking of the Ballard buses here about 10 years ago. Most of the other names you would think of like Ebus mentioned above would be better for the smaller passenger loads.

#9 Busjack

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:06 PM

... Kind of surprising, New Flyer doesn't make an all electric bus? ... Being that they have a history in experimentation, thinking of the Ballard buses here about 10 years ago. ...

The thing that has to be considered is that the fuel cell buses were a partnership between CTA, New Flyer, and Ballard. Similarly, an all electric bus would be experimental and probably a similar collaboration, rather than saying that some manufacturer has an electric bus to sell "off the shelf."

I was reminded of the 5900s when seeing Ebus saying that they were in the fuel cell bus business. IIRC, CTA's 3 lasted maybe three years, and NF and Ballard were not able to get another 3 tested. Someone at Chicago Garage may have better info regarding the first point.

#10 BusHunter

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:10 AM

The thing that has to be considered is that the fuel cell buses were a partnership between CTA, New Flyer, and Ballard. Similarly, an all electric bus would be experimental and probably a similar collaboration, rather than saying that some manufacturer has an electric bus to sell "off the shelf."

I was reminded of the 5900s when seeing Ebus saying that they were in the fuel cell bus business. IIRC, CTA's 3 lasted maybe three years, and NF and Ballard were not able to get another 3 tested. Someone at Chicago Garage may have better info regarding the first point.

From what I heard of the #5900's, one died ahead of the others, possibly the one that didn't get wrapped in blue if you look at pictures of them at 77th. I know the other two ran right up til the end on the #20 and #66. Never did see one on the #65. On your first point though, you are probably right when you say it's going to be a joint effort between different companies. To be experimental there going to need a company dealing with science and technology because that technology just doesn't exist yet on the open market.

#11 CTA5750

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:40 AM

I thought it was just a total sham to see those three #5900 series Ballard/New Flyers wearing CTA colors only lasting about three years on the streets then next thing you know theyre sitting down at 77th just falling into a decrepit state. I thought the program was a total sham. Nothing else ever became of those buses.

#12 Busjack

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 11:19 AM

.... I thought the program was a total sham. Nothing else ever became of those buses.

Again, IIRC, there was a request for bids to repower them as diesel, which was withdrawn.

Of course, the one documented thing that became of the transaction was that Belcaster was forced out because he had a secret investment in Ballard while the test was ongoing. The article also sort of confirms what I said earlier about a no bid contract.

#13 MVTArider

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:20 PM

The thing that has to be considered is that the fuel cell buses were a partnership between CTA, New Flyer, and Ballard. Similarly, an all electric bus would be experimental and probably a similar collaboration, rather than saying that some manufacturer has an electric bus to sell "off the shelf."

Agreed. This is speculation on my part of course but the electric buses or BEV buses will probably consist of a body built by a US manufacturer and a propulsion system from another country. For example Beijing is running 12m/40' BEV units (photo with description) which can get 118 miles on a 4 hour charge. Therefore I would imagine a manufacturer in another country that already has this type of engine unit and technology in regular service would be a prime candidate to partner with.

Ideally of course there would still be ETBs cruising Chicago streets and the grant would be paying for new E40LFRs instead of sinking $$ into another experiment.

#14 Busjack

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 09:40 AM

Agreed. This is speculation on my part of course but the electric buses or BEV buses will probably consist of a body built by a US manufacturer and a propulsion system from another country. For example Beijing is running 12m/40' BEV units (photo with description) which can get 118 miles on a 4 hour charge. Therefore I would imagine a manufacturer in another country that already has this type of engine unit and technology in regular service would be a prime candidate to partner with.

Ideally of course there would still be ETBs cruising Chicago streets and the grant would be paying for new E40LFRs instead of sinking $ into another experiment.


I don't know whether there is someone with the battery technology here or somewhere else. I'm sure there would be a big political uproar if CTA were saying that it was sending US government funds to China.

It seems from this description that the bus would minimally meet Chicago requirements with regard to kilometerage, but if you are talking about a fleet, the cost would have to come down from about $1.1 million to at least the about $600K price of a 40 foot hybrid.



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