Re: Economics of electric buses

Yes to your points too, the only thing being that buses go lots of places
that trams don't, or physically or economically can't, that being the whole
genuine justification for buses. Are you suggesting then that buses have
steel wheels (without the rails)? It's also worth pointing out that those
rubber tyres can take buses up steeper hills than trams can manage. Perhaps
we can compromise on caterpillar tracks.

By some fluke good luck, I actually had a long conversation with the
Councillor in Brisbane City who is in charge of the "metro" project. I gave
him some figures (from e.g. Gold Coast, CSELR) on tram vs bus system
capacity per hour that, I could tell, left him speechless. Not his fault, I
think the bus boosters working for the council simply hadn't bothered to do
anything more than shallow investigation and, even if they had gone as far
as to discover the facts, kept it quiet from the council so as not to
undermine their case. By comparison with CSELR's potential of 12,500
passengers per hour, or even Gold Coast's potential 4,800 per hour, the
"metro's" 3,000 per hour looks rather puny. I also said, innocently of
course, that I found it strange that Brisbane, with a population of 2.5
million, was buying a transit system with lower capacity than Gold Coast
with a population of 650,000.

Then of course, good old Melbourne comes along with a new tram with no more
capacity than a Brisbane "metro" bus. [facepalm]

Tony P

On Sunday, 18 September 2022 at 12:14:46 UTC+10a...@... wrote:

> Yes to all your points.


> The unacknowledged problem though with all electric buses, whether powered

> from wires or batteries is they are not without emissions as tyre wear, as

> with all road vehicles, is an enormous and ignored producer of micro and

> nano plastic pollution, which contains, apart from the toxins in synthetic,

> petroleum derived plastics, the known carcinogen carbon black :


> Car tyres produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts, tests show

> | Pollution | The Guardian



> Also the tyre-to-road friction of road vehicles is much greater than with

> steel wheel on rail, so electric buses are still well behind trams in

> efficient energy use. An electric bus is still superior to a diesel or gas

> bus, but a proper cost/benefit analysis that doesn’t dismiss all pollutant

> and energy consumption factors as “inconvenient externalities” in the way

> of a predetermined outcome greatly reduces the perceived advantages of road

> over rail based transit.


> This would reduce the appeal of solutions in search of problems like the

> stupid Brisbane bus bogusbahn, which would in any rational situation be

> electric LRT.


> Tony


> On 17 Sep 2022, at 22:43, TP histor...@...> wrote:


> We see a lot of marketing blah nowadays about electric buses, much of it

> being driven by propagandistic stuff coming out of China which is accepted

> uncritically by many of the newbies to electrification in the industry. We

> don't see much comparative study that should be mandatory when approaching

> new technology. This work is normally done in Europe which, of course, has

> had well over a century of experience with electric transit, but that is

> typically ignored outside Europe as being "outdated", with the trolley bus

> being a particular laughing stock.


> We do have a basic picture that the WOL cost of a battery electric bus is

> similar to that of a diesel bus, but it's not so publicised that a battery

> electric bus costs a lot more upfront (though much cheaper to maintain),

> has a restricted passenger capacity because of its weight, has significant

> downtime and needs a battery bank renewal at eye-watering cost around

> half-life of the bus, thus also shortening the life of the bus because it's

> uneconomic to replace the batteries a second time late in the life of the

> bus.


> We rarely see this quantified, because it doesn't suit the marketing

> agenda of the battery-electric bus proponents, but recently a Czech

> manufacturer of electric drive equipment, Cegelec, has released a short

> paper comparing the relative costs of battery-electric (overnight charge),

> battery-electric (opportunity charge) and trolley (in-motion charge) buses.





> Particularly interesting is the bar chart which contains the sort of

> information that the authorities in Wellington and Brisbane, for example,

> should have properly considered before they made the decisions they did. If

> due process had been followed properly, Wellington should still have

> trolleybuses and Brisbane should have built a trolleybus system for the

> fixed routes traversed by its double articulated buses. (The Hess bus model

> that they're buying actually has a trolleybus version as well.)


> Of course, it's difficult to convince a city to build a system with

> overhead wires from scratch, but some cities like Prague and Berlin are

> because they have a power supply already in place from their tram systems

> and, with the modern dynamic charging trolleybus, the whole of a route

> doesn't need to be wired any longer.


> This has its parallels in the tram sector where not dissimilar irrational

> proposals are argued and implemented, despite the fully overhead-wired

> method being the cheapest (in both capex and opex) and most reliable to

> operate. The in-motion charging (e.g. Parramatta) option is second best,

> but the fully battery/opportunity charge method (e.g. Newcastle) is a poor

> choice.


> The 350 or so cities with trolleybuses are extremely fortunate to have

> their existing asset because they have a large and more cost-effective head

> start on bus electrification compared with non-trolleybus cities.


> Tony P




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