Choosing the Right Low-No Type of Vehicle
- Date: February 10, 2023
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Low-emission vehicles (LEV) produce fewer emissions than the average internal combustion engine vehicle, whereas zero-emission vehicles (ZEB) produce no tailpipe emissions. Low-emission vehicles include hybrid vehicles and those powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane. ZEB vehicles are electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells or batteries. LEV and ZEB projects (vehicles and infrastructure) are both eligible for funding under the FTA 5339(c) Low or No Emission Vehicle (i.e., “Low-No”) Program
Low-No Vehicle Types
A fuel cell vehicle uses hydrogen fuel cells as its power source to convert the energy produced by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen into usable energy that powers the motor (often called an electric drive train).
Battery-electric buses (BEB) are powered by an electric motor fueled by energy stored in a battery located on the vehicle.
Conventional diesel-electric hybrid vehicles have a diesel engine that recharges onboard batteries through regenerative braking to power an electric motor for at least a portion of the vehicle propulsion. This type of vehicle uses less fuel than that of a conventional engine, and is therefore considered low-emission.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
CNG is methane stored at high pressure and used as fuel in traditional gas-powered engines, with fuel tanks stored on the roof of the vehicle.
Propane vehicle engines operate similar to that of diesel engines but are not widely used to power heavy-duty vehicles.
Questions to ask before choosing an alternative fuel
- What goal are you trying to achieve with deploying an alternative fuel?
- How many miles per day do I need the bus to travel?
- What size bus am I trying to replace?
- How often will my bus need to be charged/fueled? At what time of day? How long will it take?
- What is the availability of power infrastructure?
- What type of space constraints do I have at my facility?
- What facility upgrades will I need?
- Do we run the HVAC system a lot on vehicles?
- What type of climate and terrain do I operate in?
- Is there a fuel source nearby?
Pros and Cons of Alternative Fuels
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