A 40-foot (12.19-meter) electric bus from Proterra traveled 1,101.2 miles (1,772.21 km) at low speed without recharging, cruising to a new electric vehicle range record, the California manufacturer said on Tuesday.
Bus and truck companies are beginning to launch electric models, typically for light- and medium-duty tasks. The new technology often carries a high price, though, and a major challenge is creating vehicles with acceptable range at a competitive price.
A typical Proterra bus costs around $ 750,000 compared with roughly $ 500,000 for a typical diesel bus, chief commercial officer Matt Horton said in an interview. Proterra has lower operating costs but must convince customers that the higher sticker price is worth paying.
“Heavy-duty electric transit vehicles now have the capabilities they need. We will be turning our focus even more so to driving the cost down,” he said.
While battery weight is seen as a problem for heavy-duty trucks, eating into cargo capacity, Horton said that a bus is much lighter than a loaded big rig, even with a full complement of passengers.
Proterra developed the battery for its bus with Korea’s LG Chem. The bus maker has begun assembling battery packs at a new factory in Burlingame, California. It sold 190 buses last year and is on track to “far exceed” that this year, Horton said.
Navistar Proving Ground confirmed the single-charge trip, at 15 miles per hour. Proterra said it set the record earlier this month and beat a previous record of 1,013 miles by a light-duty passenger vehicle.
Recently, Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary Google introduced “Google Trips” – a mobile app intended to reduce travel related hassles by aggregating all trip information relating to day plans, reservations, things to do, etc., bundles within the app. The company has also ensured that the “download” button for each trip can save this information on the users phone offline. This launch comes nearly six years after Google acquired flight information firm ITA software and indicates the Google is finally ready to foray into the travel segment. In 2015, direct leisure travel spending by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. was more than $ 650 billion and nearly four out of five domestic trips were taken for leisure purpose. This indicates the strong potential of the market for leisure travel – the segment which Google Trips targets. We believe the company can generate significant revenues from this segment, given that its Maps app is already a hugely popular product among travelers, with more than a billion active users globally. The potential power of the platform is considerable. Google Trips leverages both Gmail and Google Maps to combine information relating to flight information and hotel reservations (via Gmail); and it additionally generates customized itineraries, based on a desired locations pinned on Google Maps via the address and location information therein. Given these breadth of these offerings, Google Trips has huge potential to capture a significant share in the online travel market.
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