Ride the Winds
Portland and its surrounding suburbs are replete with steep hills and other challenges, including a highly variable climate that can vacillate between triple-digit temperatures in the summer and snow in the winter, along with copious amounts of wind, rain and varied terrain. Forbes took a trip aboard the foot long electric bus to see how it differed from rides on the typical diesel-powered buses.
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Local utility PGE is paying for the chargers that power up the buses. The bus quietly glided into the transit canter where it parks against a bump stop that aligns the rooftop charging connectors with an overhead charging arm that lowers automatically.
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Range is never a problem. Onboard, the bus feels pretty much like any normal modern transit bus - until it starts moving. As is to be expected from an electric vehicle, it is blissfully quiet while underway. It's also smoother than a diesel-powered bus, with no gear changes or rumbling engine.
Ride The Wind
An airflow system whirs near the back of the bus, otherwise, the level of quiet while underway is remarkable. Helen, who said she rode the bus each day, said she makes it a point to ride the electric bus because the experience is "so much nicer" than a diesel bus. Indeed, even sitting near the back of the bus, there was no mistaking when a turn was about to be made. A single safety switch on the left side of the cab activates the automated charging system.
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Riders on the curb can hear still the bus approaching, but mostly due to the road noise between the tires and the pavement. At a million dollars per unit, Altstadt said the electric bus is about double the cost of a diesel bus, but she expects the cost to come down for future buses as the technology matures and economies of scale come into play. A speedometer and hydraulic pressure gauges are flanked by a touch panel with battery information. Each bus on the Line 62 route, where the initial batch of electric buses will run, can expect to log 63, miles annually. On the green side of things, operating the electric buses is expected to subtract over tons of diesel emissions per bus per year from TriMet's climate footprint.
Returning to the transit center aboard a diesel bus for comparison, the electric version is clearly superior.
As the diesel bus pulled away from a stop, the roar of the diesel exhaust, while familiar, suddenly seemed louder than usual. The bus is very quiet inside and out, especially when it is pulling away from a stop. My great grandmother talked about how her grandfather helped look for Cynthia Ann and the other captives.
One of the books that inspired me to become a writer. Ride the Wind fills all the empty places left by historical romances that had plenty of passion and little else… The Comanche spirit is captured in these pages.
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Like some classics that come to mind, it is not so much to be read as to be experienced. This first novel should be required reading for all serious students of American History.
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