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Whisper™ buses in the Netherlands, by e-Traction, get around 15 mpg by using a diesel engine with an electrical generator to produce electricity which runs electric motors that are directly connected to wheels.

Image:E-traction whisper busses hj85.jpg

The most efficient diesel city bus in the world.

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Contents

Official Website

Essay by Miroslav Karas

On April 17, 2006, Miroslav Karas <mirek {at} pipeline.com> wrote:


The 9 ton bus has mileage of around 15 mpg in the city!!! In the US, the average bus gets 3.5 mpg. Many SUVs in the US get worse than 13mpg.

See the comparison. http://www.e-traction.com/index.htm

The approach used in this hybrid bus can be called "true hybrid". The idea behind this design is very simple: use a diesel engine with an electrical generator to produce electricity. The electricity is used to move electrical motors that are directly connected to wheels. This means no gearbox, no differential, and no extra mechanical components that will lose energy from friction.

Today, electric generators and electric motors can achieve efficiencies of more then 95%. That means marginal loses. The idea is so simple and so ingenious.

I recommend that you search thru the e-Traction web side. There is a lot of interesting information about the design and the performance.

http://www.e-traction.com/site_index.htm

So far, all the big car corporation (with exception of Mitsubishi) have not show any revolutionary approach for the hybrid car that is relatively simple. The hybrid cars are getting even more complicated than they should be.

The chairmen of Nissan was right when he said that hybrid cars have not thus far far delivered as promise. Most cars with Diesel Engine in Europes are more efficient and cost less then gasoline hybrid in US. Simply put, the car companies are using the wrong approach.

As demonstrated in the e-Traction bus, the future of hybrid is in diesel electric hybrid with direct drive, not a gasoline electric hybrid with drive train that goes through a gearbox.

The direct drive can be easily adopted to an electric-power-only car. That might be especially attractive if the battery base on aluminum (Europositron technology), that promises 20 time higher power density then lead acid battery, becomes a reality.

The direct drive can be adopted to run on a fuel cell energy source as well.

As a tangential note, there is a lot of talk of using hydrogen fuel cells in cars. However, the hydrogen fuel cell has drawbacks including generation, storage, and efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells (around 50%). A better solution could be methanol fuel cells or even coal fuel cells, which get up to 80% of efficiency (I'm not sure what the power density is).

The idea to use electric direct drive might be the next revolution that promise significant improvement in car mileage.

Data

buses.2.gif

Source: http://www.e-traction.com/whisper_2.htm

Comments

Comments

See Discussion page

Robert Indech, PhD PE, member of the New Energy Congress, had this to say on April 19, 2006:

The European diesel/electric bus is a most efficient use of available power. Regenerative braking (frequently used on stop-and-go buses) adds to efficiency. Diesel engines, run at a constant speed, for regeneration of the batteries, are a more efficient converter of the chemical energy of the oil product than a variable speed conventional gasoline IC engine. While I would not expect a 4x increase in MPG, as the 3.5 MPG of American buses is ridiculously low, there would still be expected a higher output. The weight of the battery pack with respect to the weight of the bus is a far lower ratio than that for similar technology for a passenger car. Thus, the challenge is to reduce the weight of the automotive battery pack, and its size, while increasing its power density.

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