Re: Wellington trolley buses and Wrightspeed gadgetbahns
From: prescottt@...

I wouldn't dismiss this as a gadgetbahn, though it's still a durability-unproven way off doing what a trolleybus can do. The developer is Ian Wright who is a co-founder of Tesla, so he is somebody who knows what he's doing. The system is not just designed for garbage trucks - it has to have a working testbed on some heavy commercial vehicle, it just happens to be a garbage truck so far, which is not a bad choice in terms of real-life workload.

In bus application it's basically a battery/capacitor bus which is now well-established technology as a 12 metre urban bus, as long as there aren't too many hills with a/c on top, those sorts of factors. Unlike all those other battery buses, however, it has a small turbine generator that recharges the batteries on the run, which *is* something quite new and innovative. That makes it a sort of turbo-electric vehicle and some fossil fuel is involved.

The first prototype (Wellington TB 362?) was supposed to have been delivered back by the end of April. I don't know what's happened but in something like this there are always going to be teething issues. That brings us to the downside for NZ Bus.

This is new technology. It will need a lot of test running and fine tuning in a prototype bus/buses which will take quite a prolonged time, so there's not going to be fleet of them proven and ready to run in full revenue service in October. (They've already trialled a BYD electric bus over there so they're at least familiar with the technology.) The Wrightspeed one will probably come good eventually, but I'd give it at least a year unless you want operators and the public to be guinea pigs who are happy to be dumped off failed buses for a while. (Actually the modern tram industry was quite good at that for a while.)

The other thing that's going to get them between the eyes is that these things will (going by battery buses so far) cost something like twice as much as a diesel bus. Perhaps, like Australia, money is no object in NZ? I'd be extending the running of the trolleybuses quite a long time more. These things take a lot of time and bridges shouldn't be burned before they're crossed.

Tony P

---InTramsDownUnder@..., <> wrote :

TD wrote about Wrightspeed:

> Has this been tested/proved anywhere in commercial operation?

No. They are basically designed for rubbish trucks (garbage? trash?) and have had extremely limited use, if any. They have never been used in a bus.

Their website is fascinating. It lauds them as being an innovation similar to the Comet jetliner. The Comet fell out of the sky. One by one. Huge losses of life.

The main part of the website doesn't name a single customer. Its media release section claims it is supplying its technology for one fleet of rubbish trucks in the US and for a fleet of buses in NZ!!!

Its Wikipedia page lists FedEx and NZ Bus (!!!!) as its customers.

There has been no sign, nor any public pronouncement, about any NZ Bus actually being fitted with and running with Wrightspeed technology. Trolley 362 (IIRC) was withdrawn a year or more ago for such fitting but has not been seen since.

The whole thing here in Wellington reeks of charlatanism and gadgetbahn-ism

> Vancouver and San Francisco would be prime targets because of significantly-sized trolley-bus fleets...

Why would a city get rid of modern, near-new trolley buses running under modern overhead wires?

Oh. Greater Waste Regional Council of course.

david mcl in Wellington