See Electric Bus, page 4
Electric Bus Project Arrives on
Schedule in Howard County
By George Berkheimer, SENIOR WRITER
Public transportation passengers can
take a ride into the future aboard three new,
state-of-the-art, zero-emission electric
buses plying Howard Transit’s appropriately named Green Route.
Taking the place of three aging diesel
buses, the new vehicles were made possible through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Transit Investments for
Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction
(TIGGER) program grant acquired by
Howard County in partnership with the
Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA), the Maryland Transit
Administration (MTA) and the Center
for Transportation and the Environment
“This project has been a long time
coming,” said Howard County Executive
Allan Kittleman. “We are here to deliver
once more on our promise to improve the
quality of the transit fleet.”
Seven new traditional diesel buses will
also join the fleet by the end of the year,
he said, followed by seven more at a later
date, helping to retire some of the aging
fleet of buses that were already 13 years
old when the county acquired them.
Operated by the RTA, the three electric
buses are part of a demonstration project
to evaluate the energy efficiency and cost
effectiveness of electric buses and the
integration of fully wireless opportunity
charging. The transit hub at The Mall in
Columbia will host one of the innovative
inductive charging stations on space
donated by mall owner General Growth
The electric powered buses will assist
the county in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, Kittleman said. “As gas prices
increase over time, they will be more
cost effective and cheaper to run than our
other diesel buses. They will be
quieter than our typical buses and
will have USB ports for phone
charging,” as well as free Wi-Fi
service for passengers.
The buses utilize a 270 k Wh
lithium iron-phosphate energy
storage system that is environmentally safe and has a long
service life. The vehicles are
powered by a battery-electric
propulsion system that features
an electric-driven rear axle.
“Another key feature is the inductive
charging station,” Kittleman said, technology that was provided by Momentum Dynamics of Malvern, Pa. The system utilizes
a secondary pad on the bus that aligns with
a primary pad in the pavement at the transit
hub, where energy is transferred through
an air gap, conditioned and used to charge
the bus batteries.
According to Momentum Dynamics
CEO Andrew Daga, the 50 k W system is
the first of its kind on the East Coast and
boasts an efficiency of 95%, comparable
to traditional plug-in charging systems.
“It is modular in design, so we can
easily upgrade it to a higher capacity in the
future just by adding another component,
if demand calls for it,” Daga said. “What’s
more important is that the induction charger effectively doubles the driving range
of each electric bus.”
A spec sheet on the electric charging
technology indicates that full overnight
charging at 80 k W takes up to four hours
from a 0% state of charge, taking advantage of lower, off-peak energy rates.
While in operation, the new electric
buses are able to recover approximately
Howard County Executive Allan
Kittleman introduces three new
electric buses in the Regional
Transportation Agency of Central
Maryland’s (RTA) fleet. Howard
County and the RTA are conducting a
test project to determine the efficiency
and cost effectiveness of the new
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