The Trolley Problem: Episode 17

(or listen on YouTube)

Lithium-ion batteries are here to save public transportation! Just kidding, the problems with vehicle-scale batteries go from bad to worse when the technology is applied large, heavy buses. Battery-electric buses are the US government's latest investment of choice, and we discuss why these buses are inferior to the much older and much more reliable trolleybus. Trolleybuses with charging-in-motion are better for the environment, better for the roads, and best of all, cheaper! They are the electrification solution that denser urban areas with mid to high bus traffic need, with battery-only buses serving a secondary role.


References & notes

  1. [1] Wikipedia: Trolleybus § History
  2. [2] Wikipedia: Trolleybus usage by country § North America
  3. [3] Low-Tech Magazine: Get wired (again): Trolleybuses and Trolleytrucks
  4. [4] Siemens: On the road with electric power
  5. [5] Urban Transport Magazine: Bus Electrification: A comparison of capital costs
  6. [6] King County Metro: King County Trolley Bus Evaluation
  7. [7] Streetsblog MASS: Batteries, Or Overhead Wires? The Debate Over Zero-Emission Bus Technology
  8. [8] WHYY: SEPTA's cracking battery buses raise questions about the future of electric transit
  9. [9] Wikipedia: Battery electric bus
  10. [10] Albuquerque Journal: ABQ's electric bus trial run
  11. [11] CT Insider: NTSB joins probe of CT’s 'rare' electric bus fire; only 18 verified incidents globally since 2010
  12. [12] The Guardian: Could trolleybuses be the incredible solution for greener public transit?
  13. [13] Wikipedia: Trolleybuses in Dayton
  14. [14] The Onion: Obama Replaces Costly High-Speed Rail Plan With High-Speed Bus Plan
  15. [15] Bus lane enforcement cameras
  16. [16] Trains: Metra board approves deal for up to six battery locomotives
  17. [17] METRO Magazine: Metra to Create Battery-Powered Locomotives
  18. [18] BNSF: BNSF leads the charge on testing battery-electric locomotive
  19. [19] USAID-NREL: Electrifying transit: A guidebook for implementing battery electric buses § 3.3 Charging
  20. [20] NEMA: Charging Infrastructure for Battery-Electric Buses
  21. [21] Brock Archer: High Voltage Vehicle Firefighting § 5:45 Extinguishing agents
  22. [22] Watertown News: MBTA's Electric "Trolley" Buses to be Removed from Service Due to Road Projects
  23. [23] MBTA: Invitation for bids - 4/0 grooved bronze trolley wire
  24. [24] 200 South Reconstruction - Transit Priority Corridor & Complete Street