Report: Philadelphia’s Proterra Fleet in Complete Shambles

WFB –
More than two dozen electric Proterra buses first unveiled by the city of Philadelphia in 2016 are already out of operation, according to a WHYY investigation.

The entire fleet of Proterra buses was removed from the roads by SEPTA, the city’s transit authority, in February 2020 due to both structural and logistical problems—the weight of the powerful battery was cracking the vehicles’ chassis, and the battery life was insufficient for the city’s bus routes. The city raised the issues with Proterra, which failed to adequately address the city’s concerns.

The city paid $24 million for the 25 new Proterra buses, subsidized in part by a $2.6 million federal grant. Philadelphia defended the investment with claims that the electric buses would require less maintenance than standard combustion engine counterparts.

“There’s a lot less moving parts on an electric bus than there is on an internal combustion engine,” SEPTA chief Jeffrey Knueppel said in June 2019. Knueppel retired from the post just months later.

Proterra, which had Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on its board of directors when Philadelphia pulled the buses off the streets last year, has been highlighted by the Biden administration as a business of the future. President Joe Biden visited the company’s factory in April and pledged in his initial infrastructure package proposal to include federal money for the electric vehicle market. The company has since been touted by top officials including White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy, who in a public meeting asked Proterra’s CEO how the federal government could spur demand for Proterra buses. more

30 Comments on Report: Philadelphia’s Proterra Fleet in Complete Shambles

  1. They do require less maintenance.

    They have already been shit canned.

    See, No more maintenance.

    39
  2. No doubt the execs at Proterra are Dims with kickback contributions to Philly elected officials.

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  3. it all comes down to battery problems. they have had electric cars for over 100 years and it is still battery problems.

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  4. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for so called public transportation costs? It should be self sufficient!

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  5. So true, MAF. Electric motors have always been simple, dependable, efficient and powerful…when they’re plugged into the wall.

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  6. Electric vehicles may have fewer mechanical moving parts, but not fewer parts. Battery plates are subject to degradation and damage which can lead to a cute failures; ask Tesla. Not to mention the high power connections and power regulation devices. Oh, yes, if the chassis is cracking, what do you think it does to the roads?

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  7. “(Protests)has been highlighted by the Biden administration as a business of the future.”

    I think the Biden administration is deliberately trying to run the Babylon Bee out of business.

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  8. Just saw an article in our local worthless newsrag where our local idiots are thrilled about spending 1.5 million on two electric buses.

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  9. “…structural and logistical problems—the weight of the powerful battery was cracking the vehicles’ chassis, and the battery life was insufficient for the city’s bus routes. ”

    …maybe designed by “engineers” given a pass on all that rayyciss maff & sheeeeeat…

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  10. …it’s actually pretty easy…if the Government has to pay you to do something, they’re paying you to do something stupid; otherwise you’d be doing it on your own anyway….

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  11. …there’s a lot of reasons why batteries are stupid in this application, but here’s some highlights.

    The biggest problem with electric cars is energy storage. There’s no nice way to do it without toxic and dangerous chemicals and rare earths from countries that hate us, and these are also heavy so you waste a ton of energy just lugging your energy storage around.

    I’ve worked with automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in a factory setting for many years and several iterations, and I can tell you from experience that battery manufacturers get bored making this or that battery, and it gets ever more costly to make the one that fits your specific vehicle, and eventually they quit making it altogether.

    And it’s very specific to the vehicle. Being a major source of the vehicle’s overall weight, it has to conform in mass and shape to fit the vehicle designed around it, as any changes beyond certain parameters may affect the vehicle’s traction, center of gravity, and other handling characteristics. You also need to deal with the fact that charging them produces explosive gases, that they can leak unpleasant things that can melt your face off, and that you need to be careful about how you charge them as – depending on the SPECIFIC chemistry of your battery, if it’s lead acid, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, etc., it may produce a “memory” and SHARPLY reduce your range if you don’t completely deplete the battery before the next charge.

    How they die can vary too, with Lithium Ion being the worst. A good lithium battery will keep at full voltage until it dies all at once, so volt meters do not work to monitor them properly, you simply know they are dead when your vehicle abruptly powers down. Other types may gradually lose power over time, which is easier to monitor but may start making your electronics act wiggy as they don’t have full power and start to work incorrectly as a result.

    Also, because I can’t just park my heavy lift vehicles for 6 hours while Production backs up, I have a “swap” set of batteries for each. This is expensive, needs considerable real estate to store, needs specialized equipment and PPE to handle, and isn’t a currently available feature on passenger vehicles anyway as they tend to be built-in, but I don’t recommend it for people with musculoskeletal problems or old age anyway as them things are quite heavy.

    And this is INDUSTRIAL vehicles. It’s WORSE in CONSUMER vehicles, because the car is basically built around the battery package, which makes it muy difficil to replace if, say, a single plate separates and makes the whole thing fail, as can happen because IT’S IN A MOVING VEHICLE, and ONLY the OEM will be able to do that for you, so they can pretty much name their price. Also, it has to be pretty, which isn’t efficient, not blow up in a residential garage, which limits your charging options, and at least give you a chance of not dying of toxic gases in the cabin, so your vehicle sealing and venting is going to be an issue as it ages and a bit more critical than in a gasoline engine.

    Plus, they’ve been known to burst into flames in an accident.

    I remember more than once being at an accident scene as a responder and forcing the hood on a smoldering car open, only to find the top post battery for starting the car had both posts touch the hood as a result of the collision, and welded itself to the hood, which makes it pretty heavy and dangerous to open, plus it’s probably in flames at this point, blowing out acidic steam and flaming plastic in random directions as it drips molten lead onto your turnouts. Fin, fun.

    And that’s the old-school, 12v batteries that are only slightly bigger than a toaster.

    Now make that the width of the vehicle, sit on top of it, and have someone slam into your side to see what happens THEN.

    ESPECIALLY entertaining if you have cool features like retractable door handles that don’t work when your electrical system is damaged, so no one can get you out as you slowly start to roast, as has actually happened…

    https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/tesla-fatal-crash-lawsuit-florida-door-handle-14556744.php

    And that’s BEFORE you get into mood swings in people who make the CHARGERS, and how long the Chinese will make the diode bridge for THAT application is problematic, too.

    ..and one other thing. If you run out of electricity 3 miles from the charging station, it’s REAL hard to bring a can of it back to the car with you to get you the rest of the way in.

    …so, for these and many other reasons, I’m not a fan. I haven’t even gotten into the range issues and time you have to be at your destination to charge, but as I tend to do, this is again already too long, so that’s a different subject for another time…

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  12. Thirdtwin
    JULY 19, 2021 AT 4:44 PM
    “So true, MAF. Electric motors have always been simple, dependable, efficient and powerful…when they’re plugged into the wall.”

    …heavy locomotives are actually running electric motors. They solved the battery problem by dint of not having one. All that motor and roar on the top part of the locomotive is a giant diesel generator to power the electric motors.

    https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/diesel-locomotive.htm

    ..maybe try THAT, for busses…

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  13. Proterra, which had Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on its board of directors when Philadelphia pulled the buses off the streets last year, has been highlighted by the Biden administration as a business of the future.

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  14. Our buses don’t make money. Everybody that rides them have passes so the system is subsidized by the taxpayer. As are probably 90% of the people that use them.

    5
  15. Just a word of caution.Common cars that have
    gas/electric hybrid combos have 330 volt batteries.
    Like a big flat suitcase.They can kill and cost
    some $6000 to replace. I hate batteries.I had 56
    transmitter sites with 4 100 pound batteries in the
    radio cabinet.Heat shaves off the life of any battery
    or electronics and I was constantly lugging batt.s
    up and down flights of stairs for my roof top sites
    in Houston.

    4
  16. I would like to know how much the kickbacks amounted to and who received them. Those buses definitely aren’t worth $1 million each.

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  17. DemoncRAT owned and paid for. This is what happens when a certain party is in charge, and they’re all whacked out! They are drunk with money and power, yet they all lack the skills to lead, do the research, and are more than willing to take bribes to bypass acting responsibly.

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  18. ANOTHER COAL-POWERED boondoggle. 🙄

    And in PA – the ORIGINAL COAL state, no less! 😳 😳 😳

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  19. This reminds me of the chapter in Atlas Shrugged that covers the freight train grain car debacle. Do gooders in government screw things up every time.

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  20. The fleet is in complete shambles, but the ‘investment’ was 100% successful.
    The money is gone, absolutely no one will be held accountable and President* Dumbass has nested in the WH and is furiously busy stealing trillions of dollars with the help of his accomplices in both houses of Congress (yes, both parties).

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