VTA plans Edgartown charging stations

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Wireless charging is coming to the streets of Edgartown outside the VTA bus depot. - George Brennan

Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) administrator Angela Grant updated Edgartown selectmen on the VTA’s electric fleet and plans for charging stations on Church Street.

“The next big part of the project, in order to continue to electrify the fleet, you need to do interim charging,” Grant said.

Grant said there were some constraints to the project. Chiefly, the electrical infrastructure required has to be located within 50 to 75 feet of the path. Grant said the VTA would come up with “creative shielding” such as painting to make the charging stations look better than giant electrical boxes. The VTA will own the charging stations, allowing for them to alter their appearance to better fit into the landscape of the town. “We’ll make them as pretty as possible,” Grant said.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck asked if there was a location other than Church Street where the charging stations could go. Grant said there was not. The buses are stopped at Church Street the longest, giving them the most time to charge. If the VTA does not charge buses on Church Street, they get hit with demand charges from Eversource. “It just makes electrification of your fleet significantly more expensive,” she said.

The VTA is now looking at vendor options for the electrical infrastructure. Grant first brought the idea to the board’s attention in February.

In other business, town selectmen approved the 2019 Martha’s Vineyard marathon. Race director Lee Ann Yarbor told selectmen the marathon would be held on Saturday, May 18. She referred to the race as a “run-cation,” saying it brought people to the Island for the weekend. This year, approximately 1,500 people finished the race. Yarbor said 15 percent of those runners qualified for the Boston Marathon, and people from across the country and around the world participate in the race. The race will begin at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, border the State Forest, weave through downtown Edgartown, and finish in Waban Park in Oak Bluffs.

14 COMMENTS

    • We haven’t reached “the future” just yet. Do remember that the electricity to charge those bus batteries has to be generated somewhere in Amerika, probably by some filthy fossil fuel – in somebody else’s back yard.

      • What the power generation mix is for MA and the New England ISO is readily available online. Natural gas fuels more than two-thirds of the electricity generation in Massachusetts. Another one-sixth comes from nuclear power, and one-eighth comes from renewables. Not exactly “filthy fossil fuels”. NG and combined cycle power plants are very clean compared to their coal fired counter parts.

        Still the efficiency of electric buses and the savings in fuel and maintenance costs each year for the VTA justifies the move to the future. Those clinging to intractable cynicisms are never those that move humanity toward a greater future. The move to electric buses for the VTA is nothing short of progressive! Bravo VTA! Bravo!!

        • The same online sources tell us that Massachusetts consumes more electricity than it produces, meaning it purchases from other sources the means of generation of which are not easy to determine. Also, note that your source identifies May 31, 1919 as the shut off date for the nuclear plant (your one sixth figure).https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=MA I think MA is making a huge bet on wind and solar for the make up. We’ll see.

      • hanley– the liberals have been trying for years to produce the electricity for those busses locally — I am on record for those sources to be in my back yard –and without filthy fossil fuel.
        So who’s to blame ?

        • Don – I’m not blaming anyone, and for the record I am not opposed to electric buses. Sometimes we need to look beyond mere raw economic considerations; my point to Vanadium was simply that electrifying our local transport does not constitute a net energy saving nor does it reduce fossil fuel usage in the aggregate. Remember, the whole country is one big grid and Massachusetts can only control its own production. Still, I like the general move towards electrification if we can produce the electricity by clean methods. Just as an aside, I think the old fashioned electric street cars and buses are actually a more efficient choice, but I appreciate that we already have a lot of junk overhead.

          • “my point to Vanadium was simply that electrifying our local transport does not constitute a net energy saving nor does it reduce fossil fuel usage”

            Actually you are wrong Hanley. The electrification of motive power is in fact a move toward better efficiency. If you were to compare the “round trip” efficiency of internal combustion engines (ICE’s) to electrified motive power you find a huge increase in efficiency for the EV as much of the energy released in the ICE is lost in the form of unusable heat.

            Electric vehicles are not only vastly more efficient in terms of energy, they are also much cheaper to operate and maintain when compared to their ICE counterparts.

          • hanley– there is hope for you. I think the electric buses are a net reduction in fossil fuels, due mainly to the efficiency of the electric motor. A typical internal combustion engine only burns about 90 % of the available hydrocarbons. ( thank you pollution regulations) — About 1/3 of the available energy is lost to heat, both in terms of combustion and braking.
            and check this out — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/607902/the-case-for-building-roads-that-can-charge-electric-cars-on-the-go/

  1. “She referred to the race as a “run-cation,” saying it brought people to the Island for the weekend“
    Yes, just what we need,
    more people on MV!!
    Did we learn nothing from this horrific summer?!!!

    • local opine– we live in a free country– we can go where we please– if people choose to come to the Vineyard, so be it — it’s a beautiful place . I did not experience a “horrific summer ” here. On the contrary, I thought is was great– perhaps you just choose to be negative– that’s your choice– not mine–

      • 35th summer for me. Have things changed? Sure. But everywhere else in this country I’ve been has changed in 35 years. Boston, Raleigh, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, LA. Horrific summer here? Hardly. No place I’d rather be. Of course i’ve liked the 35 Springs & Falls better. Winters I’ll ignore. If “Local” can’t find a happy place here I doubt he/she will find one anywhere.

  2. Vanadium = I think you are too intelligent to attempt to dispute the laws of physics concerning perpetual motion and the conservation of energy. Whether an electric motor converts stored battery energy more efficiently to motive power than an ICE is a separate question. The principle is that energy losses occur every time energy is converted to another type. The electric bus requires electricity to charge the batteries (losses occur). The batteries potential energy becomes motive (kinetic), more losses. The ICE goes from fossil fuel to motive in one step (losses occur). The real question (physics exam?) might become – how much energy must be consumed by either bus to move a passenger one mile, other factors constant. Remember, the electricity to charge the bus batteries must be considered together with attendant losses.

  3. Don – As I posted to Vanadium, the issue of whether an electric motor is more efficient than an ICE is a separate sub issue. In determining which is more “efficient” ALL inputs would need to be considered with many variables held constant. This is an incredibly complicated exercise and unless a local physicist/engineer steps up with some formulae we cannot go much further with this. BTW, induction is not a new power concept. I remember some years ago an enterprising home owner living adjacent to high transmission lines buried copper coils and had the power company scratching their heads – the power wasn’t “free”. Again, the decision to go electric in road vehicles need not be made on a purely economic basis (which is not the same as energy efficiency), nor even efficiency itself. The real root issue is how the power is generated in the first place. With the end of nuclear generation on the horizon there is a gap to be filled I Massachusetts. Both wind and solar must be considered.

  4. hanley– you are correct — many factors to consider–
    Inductance charging is nothing new, but actually building test roads is ( relatively) Here, again, there are many factors– it cost about $3000 for a charging station in yoyr home– if everyone does this, the transmission lines have to get heavier to carry the extra current.. maybe we can have a smarter grid, but we are talking about a lot of juice– serious upgrades will be seriously expensive– perhaps cheaper to build inductance roads ??? we don’t know that one–but efficiencies of busses from a fuel standpoint is clear https://cleantechnica.com/2017/08/15/proterra-electric-buses-8x-efficient-cng-powered-cousins/https://cleantechnica.com/2017/08/15/proterra-electric-buses-8x-efficient-cng-powered-cousins/
    in the late 70’s I lived in maine, and often went to seabrook n.h to stand in the road and protest the nuke under construction there.. Now, given the climate change issue ( which is starting to get expensive in it’s own right ) I can live with “pebble bed ” reactors. They are virtually melt down proof ( my biggest concern) and I view the waste issue as a decades problem rather than a millennial problem. As our technology to get off the planet improves, we should be able to take this stuff, kick it into the general direction of the sun, and it’s gone — As for solar, the resources needed to make a significant dent in the worlds use of fossil fuels is unattainable.

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