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Battery-electric bus transition plans (Ontario, funded by Metrolinx)

kEiThZ

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Thanks for posting this. Incredible. I was concerned that our smaller transit agencies would get left behind in the transition, making them more vulnerable to higher fuel prices.
 

Admiral Beez

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Let's first learn what happened here. The carbon footprint of this bus is off the scale.


Presumably an isolated incident given the thousands of electric buses now in service worldwide. Well....




Hmm...

 
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MisterF

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Let's first learn what happened here. The carbon footprint of this bus is off the scale.
Better figure out what went wrong here before we buy any internal combustion buses...
Crazy how many bus fires on Youtube are school buses 😲

A vehicle that stores a lot of energy in a small space has the the potential for something to go wrong. But that risk is a lot lower in EVs than combustion vehicles.
Government data show gasoline vehicles are up to 100x more prone to fires than EVs
Car-Vehicle-Fires-Chart.jpg
 

MisterF

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Ah yes, whataboutism.

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I completely agree that just posting some Youtube videos would be whataboutism. That's why I linked to the article showing that EVs are much less likely to catch fire than gas vehicles. The point being that if vehicles catching fire is a concern, then EVs are an improvement.
 

slickpete83

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I'll take the extra risk of fire vs. our LOUD annoying GO-Buses that shake like crazy because they cheap out on properly reducing vibration and noise on the body of the Bus ,probably to save money....
 

afransen

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Ah yes, whataboutism.

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It's not whataboutism if it's a response to concern trolling. Any time you pack a lot of energy into one place, you tend to risk uncontrolled release of that energy. A lot of anti-EV trolls ride the battery fire hobby horse, but neglect to put them in the context of utterly banal engine fires caused by ICE vehicles.
 

kEiThZ

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We should be working overtime to convert transit fleets. It helps insulate transit operators against the kind of crazy oil prices we see now.
 

Deadpool X

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Ah yes, whataboutism.

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It's your post that should be considered trolling and yet you are calling someone troll who is trying to put things into perspective. If the city plans new subway lines, will you start posting videos of people falling on to subway tracks? If government announces new power plants, will you start posting videos of people getting electrocuted? If your answer is no to that, then you should know that you were trolling.
 

mdrejhon

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I drove by a flaming combustion vehicle during my roadtrip in USA on I-95. It was solo, pulled over, and appeared to have a dropped gas tank (big squarey tank thing fallen to asphalt between the four tires).

Apparently sometimes a bolt or strap get loose.

EV fires makes the news simply because of EV novelty (among some reporters) and EV hate (among other reporters).

I agree that the more important metric is fires per million km. Need truthful statistics but the truthful ones I found, do seem to favor EVs significantly.

Musk (as human) is crazy and clearly not as well liked anymore, but I like the Teslas (the car). Rode in one as passenger. Impressive cars and technology.

Yes, as airbags still occasionally kill to save far more, the Tesla mislabelled Level 2 driver assistance system is still a incredible, apparently saves far more lives than kills (hundreds of unreported successful accident-dodges videos from Tesla’s built in standard-included dash cameras on Wham Bamm Teslacam channel). Go see video proof of its driving assistance system doing far more saves than not. That said, still misadvertised as FSD. It’s only Level 2 all the way, not to be abused as a Level 4 as its FSD namesake suggests. Nontheless as a moderated view, impressive cars. Far better than mine. This is the unbiased balanced view, if you ignore the leftist and rightist views. It’s impressive tech at the end of the day as one of the best L2 driving-assistance systems on the market and I’ve tried a few in many rentals and friends’ vehicles.

A bicycle is certainly more environmently friendly than even EVs, no contest. There’s certainly many people expressing concern about our car culture and its sustainability, and others just wanting to sustain it. But that’s not the debate here, we’re debating fires. And 2+2=4 fact is already that EVs have far fewer fires per million KM.

The dumb sensationalism in the news, the highway barrier crashes, the truck broadside crashes, the children in the road, all dumb sensationalism. But at the end of the day, Tesla gave a massive gift to the competitors — by improving everybody’s AI-based driving assistance systems to detect truck broadsides and ramp barrier separators better, and other odd edge cases. It’s hard to believe that all the reputable statistics show cars killed roughly 10x more people not just too many decades ago, just right before seatbelts became mandatory, and other safety dominoes fell.

Complacency in safety features is a big problem (even mere dumb L1 cruise control creates some driver inattention sometimes), as we feel comfortable in ultra-comfortable suspension allowing too many people to speed 149 kph, because it only feels like 100kph in an old rattly car and crashes are more survivable now with Baymax going poof all around you with airbags on side, above, in front, etc……. Some of what is happening with the improved L2 systems is even MORE driver complacency, but still, fewer deaths per million km, apparently, even with the increased news reports now (due to massive numbers of new Teslas).

It is like birthday attacks — More than 50% of people get into at least one accident in their lifetimes, but out of the 3 million Teslas, relatively few accidents, but they are much more widely reported than for none. Regardless, it is a massive gift to other EV competitors, who gets to learn from Tesla’s stupid mistakes.

Also, many new medium range (and shorter) Model 3 Tesla EVs now use lithium iron batteries that are fully maganese-free, and doesn’t catch fire. Lithium batteries are rapidly becoming safer, much like petro cars became a bit safer per million km as they matured (but never completely so)

FWIW, I drive a 2011 Hyundai Elantra, a 100% pure petroleum powered car. Works damn fine at 8000km/yr, and intend to drive it to its entire estimated 20 year lifetime but next car could be a mature EV from Honda or Hyundai, when it is something I can afford in 2030+

[EDIT: I researched the car manufacturers. Yeah… Apparently, gas tanks falling loose does happen, so it likely was what I saw happen to that flaming vehicle in the shoulder that I passed during my I-95 drive]

Fair is fair. Yup, all the trusted moderate fact checkers has mythbusted Admiral Beez’ totally false fact from selective watching of EV news biased sensationalism. So many failure modes of gas cars. There’s even 1890s - 1910s microfilche showing sensational reports of fires of the newfangled horseless carriages. Doh! History repeats. Facepalm. Selective history blindness runs rampant.

Yes, yes, there are really bad EVs and batches but Admiral Beez’ post is a clear outlier here. It is a very clear loud yellow or red card by a non-biased moderate referee, warranting a stern moderator warning. IMHO.
 
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crs1026

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The dumb sensationalism in the news, the highway barrier crashes, the truck broadside crashes, the children in the road, all dumb sensationalism. But at the end of the day, Tesla gave a massive gift to the competitors — by improving everybody’s AI-based driving assistance systems to detect truck broadsides and ramp barrier separators better, and other odd edge cases. It’s hard to believe that all the reputable statistics show cars killed roughly 10x more people not just too many decades ago, just right before seatbelts became mandatory, and other safety dominoes fell.

Automobile/truck/bus fires are a daily - perhaps hourly - occurrence and certainly not much gloom and doom is reported in the news about that..... more often the complaint is how a car fire will tie up traffic while it's being extinguished .

Detached gas tanks are only a portion of what goes wrong with vehicles. Eliminating hydrocarbons and heat will make vehicles less likely to catch fire, but many car fires are the result of defective wiring or electricals. One has to assume that Tesla (and electric vehicles generally) will continue to experience those things. I would not expect perfection. What would be interesting is Tesla's electrical defect rate compared to GM's or Toyota's ... it's not zero. It would also be interesting to see an apples to apples comparison of the environmental effects of a gas car fire versus electrical car fire.... both are noxious, especially in terms of pollutants and carcinogens released as smoke. How many pounds of burning wire, insulation, plastic, chemicals.... the interior of a burning Tesla is probably just as noxious as the interior of a burning F150. The contribution of a battery drive train versus an internal combustion drive train to the overall fire impact would be interesting.

As to AV, the challenge is to get to objectivity here. The optimal approach is to define a standard and then enforce it. The standard may not be perfect (a standard of significantly fewer injuries or deaths is not the same as a standard of "perfection"). The problem is the tendency of some to say we are already at that standard when we are still some distance from it. A lot of lobbyist money will be spent in that pursuit. It's not helpful for the self-proclaimed "futurists" to wax poetic in that direction. The wait may be excruciating, but everyone has to respect the need to prove that the statement has been reached.

As they say in Pythonspace..... "Wait for it......"

- Paul
 

lenaitch

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If this is a debate, it one of the slowest I've ever seen.

According to this Global article, Transport Canada says there are 10,000 vehicle fires per vehicle, but the causes are pretty broad, including arson, so I'm not convinced the numbers are statistically significant given the number of vehicles and kilometers driven.

Then there is this from the US, which I will toss out without comment:

https://www.autoinsuranceez.com/gas-vs-electric-car-fires/

In my experience, many of the large commercial vehicle fires are caused by tire or bearing failure and igniting the load. Depending on the cargo, it can provide a lot of fuel. Paul is quite correct that the safety/environmental danger posed by vehicle fires arises more from the toxic stew of burning synthetic materials (and, from first responders' perspective, exploding/igniting collision mitigation devices) than from the source fuel. The big problem current facing fire fighters is how to extinguish an EV fire. The current practice of smothering doesn't work nearly as well. From the way I understand it, an EV battery fire is self-oxidized. They can apparently be extinguished with massive amounts of water, much more water that a typical truck can provide without a hydrant connection. I'm not aware of the environmental impact of EV battery fire by-products.
 

dowlingm

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If we are talking about battery-electric bus transitions, then doing this with the school bus fleets should also be in the conversation. According to this report, 20,000 vehicles are currently in operation in this province on a given school day.

The Toronto school boards' consortium, which runs about 2,000 buses assigned across multiple private bus operators, indicated in their 2018-19 report that they had been given a 71 seat bus and an 18 seater to test. However the Province then cancelled the program.
Drivers also found that the students tend to be quieter as they are not competing to speak over the normal sounds associated with diesel school buses.
One of the limitations to the new electric school buses is the operating range. The consortium worked with the school bus operators to find a bus route that operated in a confined area around the company depots. This ensured the bus was always able to complete the route and return to the depot for recharging each night.

Aside from saving massive amounts of diesel on school days, they could be employed as grid-stabilization assets during off-hours/holidays/weekends to reduce the need for peaker plants/fossil coverage for renewables

To get the best use, this would ideally be driven by the province which would buy in bulk and then lease vehicles to operators under conditions which keep the expenses not greater than diesel, while coordinating with the grid operator and local utilities to get the charging infrastructure, the bus charging profiles etc. A bit more activist than perhaps we can expect from this government...

I would expect that given where battery tech/range, route lengths etc. are taken into account, it would take several years to cycle out a substantial percentage of diesel vehicles, and the mix of diesel vs electric would probably be different in different regions of Ontario, particularly given the need to concurrently create charging and servicing infrastructure. But that is all the more reason to start sooner rather than later to start capturing the lowest hanging fruit.
 

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