Whether at transport hubs, large campuses or construction sites, shuttle buses play a key role in getting people to and from their destinations. And while many traditional buses run on fossil fuels, American Electric Vehicles (AEV) based in Colorado, has developed an e-shuttle bus – hey, if cars can do it, why can’t buses get some electric action too? AEV, which was co-founded by Dr. Dan Rivers, designed and constructed the 18-passenger electric shuttle bus with the aim of not only selling it in the U.S., but abroad in China and India. Rivers co-founded the lithium-ion battery company Compact Power Inc., so it’s almost certain that the shuttle bus will have the most efficient battery possible.
Early reports indicate that the 21-foot E-Shuttle will run on an 88.5 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack which will give the vehicle a range of about 133 km (84 miles) without the use of air conditioning, a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) and consumption of 665 Wh/km.
While a prototype has been made, AEV is now making a more detailed specification for the production shuttles. The first model is expected to come off the production line at the end of June. While the current e-Shuttle uses a first-generation motor and second-generation motor controller, AEV is planning a second-generation motor on the new model. The battery pack is also expected to be enlarged.
Speaking about the vehicle, Dan Rivers said, “We looked at all the opportunities, and which part of the market is ready for EVs today. We zeroed in on electric shuttles for the fleet market for two main reasons. First, predictable routes. Second, lots of driving, intensive use. Predictability and intensity. In India, we met with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. They use small shuttles—a little smaller than 5.5m—to bring people into Delhi. On rail, the last mile transportation is to put people on shuttles and to move them around. A lot of these are professional people. The Government of India will do a matching grant with us on the shuttle.”
AEV hopes to produce 50 eShuttles in 2011 and approximately 300 in 2012. The company will release pricing information and detailed specs at a later date.
View a video of the vehicle in action here.