By Anthony Capkun
July 28, 2020 – Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) recently unveiled its first 21 Proterra electric buses and new, purpose-built electric bus garages.
ETS has 19 more Proterra buses on their way this year, to comprise a fleet of 40 buses. With this deployment, Proterra says ETS becomes the first transit system to implement in-depot overhead charging on the continent.
“We’ve taken a unique approach to charging our buses inside transit facilities,” says ETS’ Ryan Birch. “This provides important redundancy that makes our electric bus fleet more reliable for transit customers, and will help us continue to modernize our transit system.”
Edmonton selected the 40-ft Proterra Catalyst E2 max vehicle with 660 kWh of onboard energy and the DuoPower drivetrain, explains Proterra. The E2 max bus has six Proterra battery packs on board, enabling these buses to achieve about 350 km on ETS routes.
To charge these new buses, Edmonton unveiled the new Kathleen Andrews Garage (named after Edmonton’s first woman transit operator, who worked for the city for 23 years). ETS collaborated with the Proterra Energy team to install 26 ABB 150-kW depot chargers connected to inverted pantographs, and seven 60-kW Proterra plug-in chargers in the maintenance area—all of which are interoperable and standardized.
ETS bus operators are able to drive their vehicles into assigned parking spots and connect to the respective overhead chargers with the flip of a switch, and begin charging immediately or wait until a designated time when fleet management software initiates charging.
According to Proterra, along with ETS and ABB, they have created a first-of-its-kind installation in North America using RFID technology, Wi-Fi, and 2-step authentication that ensures each bus connects to its respective overhead charger.
Using Proterra’s APEX Connected Vehicle Intelligence System, ETS can monitor the status of its vehicles and gather information such as state of charge, charger status, bus efficiency, distance travelled, etc. Charge management features keep energy consumption from the chargers below set limits, minimizing electricity costs and ensuring the power draw stays within facility limits. A cloud-based portal also allows ETS to review historical data on vehicle performance.