Taking a 13.5-metric ton vehicle from 0-20 mph in 4.5 seconds is no mean feat. But that’s what a new all-electric drivetrain from clean-energy bus maker Proterra promises.
Its new DuoPower system uses two electric motors to deliver 510 horsepower. In fact, it can haul a 40-foot bus up a 26 percent slope, which is better than both its diesel and electric rivals can manage. And we also know it’s efficient, because it turns out that this was the powertrain that allowed Proterra to set a world record for the longest distance traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge—cruising 1,101 miles, albeit at 15 mph.
Still, those figures appear to have been enough to impress European bus builder Van Hool, which has today announced that its first all-electric motor coaches, the CX35E and CX45E (pictured above), will use Proterra’s power system. It's claimed the vehicles will be “the most efficient and highest performing long-range” electric coaches on the U.S. market when they go on sale in 2019. (They were, apparently, created to satisfy demand for such vehicles from Silicon Valley firms, which run their own commuter shuttles but would like stronger green credentials.)
On a related note, Forbes also has a nice rundown on the wider state of the electric bus market right now, with a look at Proterra rivals like BYD and New Flyer. But perhaps its most astute observation is that, whichever firm ends up dominant in the sector, buses and coaches like these might be the way most of us get our first real taste of what it’s like to regularly ride in an electric vehicle.