100% Electric Coach Shown in Rhode Island May be First in State

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WJAR) — A 100% battery-powered coach was on display before the media in Cranston on Thursday.The owner of Flagship Trailways hopes to add it to his fleet, with help from the U.S. government.The nearly noise-free, zero-emission ride is being touted as the wave of the future.

“When you look at all the research efforts going, all the alternate energies that we can tap into, we can build a grid that will provide us the ability to move around by electricity, not by oil,” Sen. Jack Reed said at the demonstration.

ABC Companies is the dealer for owner Van Hool that has so far sold 100% electric coach buses on the West Coast and hopes to lease this one as the first of its kind in Rhode Island to Flagship Trailways.

Tom McCaughey, president of Flagship Trailways, noted how coach bus businesses were hit hard in the pandemic. McCaughey said he sees the feasibility of electric buses, which can go as fast as 71 mph, carrying nine batteries, and run about 250 miles on a charge. He said the idling of diesel buses in places like Newport in the summer, polluting the air, will no longer be an issue.

“Local tours, wedding venues and so forth, we’re lucky enough to have conventions here. We move conventioneers around. Maybe 75% of what we do can be done without the passenger being aware of a charge, and have a seamless ride for the passenger,” said McCaughey.

Based on the California fleet already in service, the electric coach bus on display sells for $1.1 million, twice that of a diesel. But maintenance costs are about half, and energy costs per mile are about a quarter.

James Morra, the product support manager at ABC Companies, said “the recharge rate is about four hours for a full charge. This vehicle has regenerative braking as well, so 30% of the energy that it takes to get up to speed, you get to recover back into the batteries just to slow back down again.”

Reed is working to offset expenses for electric coach buses through the $1.5 trillion, 12-bill omnibus package signed into law in March.

“As more and more of our vehicles are electric, the demands on the grid increase,” Reed said, “so we want to anticipate that rather than have to react to that quickly.”

If all goes well, McCaughey hopes the first zero-emission, 100% electric coach bus in Rhode Island will be in his fleet in 2023.

To watch and read the full story by NBC News, click here: https://turnto10.com/news/local/cranston-rhode-island-electric-coach-bus-flagship-trailways-abc-companies-van-hool-transportation-no-emissions

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