Google & Motiv Power Electric Bus Pilot Project Launches

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Originally published on Sustainnovate.

In the world of electric buses, the big name is BYD, a Zayed Future Energy Prize winner, probably followed (at a distance) by Proterra. But another name that you see from time to time is Motiv Power, and it is backed by a bigger name than all of the above — Google.

Motiv Power has just unleashed four new electric shuttle buses for use in Mountain View, California, which (by chance) is Google’s global headquarters. “The white and blue buses use modular, plug and play electric powertrain technology,” Motiv Power noted in a press release today.

“The Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) is the only product suite in the industry that electrifies truck or bus chassis as a ship-though option, using a variety of commercially-available battery packs and motors.”

Motiv Power Systems Shuttle Buses

The Mountain View shuttle buses will be free for the public and will travel all around town — neighborhoods, shopping centers, medical complexes, recreation areas, etc. They can seat 16, as well as 2 wheelchairs, and they also include bicycle racks. Being funded by Google, they of course include the life necessity known as WiFi.

“With these four buses, thousands of residents will get to experience firsthand what an electric bus can offer,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. “These buses demonstrate we don’t need to design new vehicles from the ground up to break their reliance on fossil fuel and offer zero-emission vehicle options.”

Google provided the funding for the two-year pilot project, but the electrification of the shuttle buses was actually covered by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

“The Mountain View Community Shuttles feature a Ford E450 chassis, the Motiv ePCS and an Ameritrans 285 shuttle bus body. With these shuttles, the Motiv ePCS, battery packs, and a motor were installed to replace the engine and transmission of a new incomplete chassis in a ship-through modification. This process, common in the truck and bus industry, is similar to a Compressed Natural Gas ship-through modification and allows for minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the final vehicle. Existing truck and bus builders who already use incomplete chassis can use the Motiv ePCS product suite to build and sell electric versions of their existing truck and bus models.”

Previous electrification projects from Motiv Power that I’ve highlighted in the past couple of years include the electrification of a school bus and a garbage truck, but it also works on many more typical trucks, vans, etc.

I’m excited to see MOtiv Power moving forward, but even more excited to see another step taken toward the electrification of our buses.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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