The need for electric vehicles is picking up speed. Transportation accounts for a quarter of the world’s harmful air emissions and that percentage is growing. Over 90 percent of transportation fuel is petroleum based, which includes the gasoline and diesel for our cars, trucks, trains, and planes.
This has cities around the world jumping into the fast lane to acquire electric vehicles for land, water, and air applications. Even with the demand, in many cases it takes time to get them into service due to the infrastructure needs and technical challenges.
BAE Systems is helping cities solve these problems and get to a zero emission future with our electric propulsion systems. We have been plugged into the market for more than 20 years. That’s when we came up with electric fuel and accessory power systems for trains.
Those systems are still coming off the production line today, although they’ve changed quite a bit since then. These days they aren’t limited to the rails, but powering more than 10,000 buses and marine vessels around the world in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, London, and Paris.
Leader in electric propulsion
While we created our first power management system for trains, our transit buses have led the charge in recent years. Each year those systems travel more than 330 million miles and help to transport more than 1.6 billion people.
But it is about more than moving people – it is about improving the environment. While buses make up a small number of vehicles, each one helps take passenger cars off the road, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.
Even with reducing vehicle traffic, average buses still leave a mark. Harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides are emitted by their internal combustion systems. Electric or hybrid propulsion systems address that problem, as they are much better for the environment. They also provide a better passenger experience by limiting vibration, noise, and exhaust. Plus, the operating costs are lower and the maintenance is easier.
That’s why we help cities lower harmful emissions with electric systems. We have 300 buses with our fully-electric drive system on the road today. Those buses, powered by our battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric drive systems, have driven more than five million miles in transit service.
We have also taken our expertise to the water, as we created the first electric-hybrid propulsion system for a U.S. Coast Guard-approved aluminum passenger vessel. Red & White Fleet, a sightseeing cruise company in San Francisco, California is using the vessel to reduce emissions in the San Francisco Bay. We supplied our patented electric-hybrid system for its newest boat, Enhydra, which launched on its maiden voyage last year.
Pioneering a greener tomorrow
We see a world with zero emissions on land, in the water, and in the air. Each of our systems play a part to get to zero, on the journey to a cleaner tomorrow. Every year, our products are saving more than 20 million gallons of fuel and more than 200,000 tons of CO2 from entering the earth’s atmosphere which is equivalent to taking 42,000 cars off the road or planting 4 million trees. That’s why our investment in this technology is about more than just saving fuel – it’s about changing the world.
BAE Systems is a pioneer in power sources for the heavy-duty transportation industry. In 1998, we fielded New York City’s first electric-hybrid transit bus fitted with our lead-acid batteries. Less than 10 years later, we were one of the first to market with a lithium-ion based energy storage system.
We continue to set the pace of innovation with our power sources for transit buses. Last year we became the first company in America to offer two energy storage systems for electric-hybrid transit bus fleets – a 32kWh lithium nickel manganese cobalt (Li-NMC) system and a 1kWh ultra capacitor system. Earlier this year, our battery systems on bus fleets reached 200 megawatt hours of storage – which is enough energy to power 6,666 homes.
In the coming years, we will continue to pioneer new technologies for our systems on land and in the water. With our eye on the future, we stand prepared to push the limits of what is possible for aircraft propulsion. That’s why we are making new investments in energy storage, controls, and power conversion to shape our vision for the future of flight.