August 11th, 2020 by Jake Richardson
A new electric trolley began operating in Estes Park, Colorado in July, with a second on the way in 2021. Motiv Power Systems, based in California, provided the all-electric chassis and collaborated with Wisconsin-based Hometown Trolley, the company that designed and constructed the body. Estes Park is a little over 60 miles northwest of Denver and is near the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This small town has a population of about 6,300, but the national park has several million visitors annually. Motiv’s Chairman and CEO, Matt O’Leary, answered some questions about the trolley for CleanTechnica.
When will the trolley begin operating, and what will its passenger capacity be?
The first trolley is already in operation. A ribbon cutting was held July 1st and operations began the same day. The trolley has capacity for 24 passengers.
Where will it be located, and what route will it cover?
Located in the town of Estes Park, Colorado. 2.5 mile route: parking lot to Main street downtown and back to parking lot, a circuitous route at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
What distance will it cover for each trip, and how long will it take to recharge, or will it not need recharging?
2.5 mile loop, with passenger pick-up every 30 minutes, 8.5 hours a day without a charge break. The single trolley covers approximately 50 miles per day and is designed to hold enough battery charge for eight hours of service.
Who will operate it, and what is the main benefit of using an electric trolley vs. a conventional one?
Operated by Parking & Transit, Town of Estes Park. The electric trolley will provide free zero-emission shuttle service while saving the Town over 1,700 gallons of fuel over one season. (Two trolleys would save 3,456 gallons of fuel over one season. Given a 10K annual mile usage with 104 miles per day, by switching from gasoline to electric, they estimate a 30-metric ton C02 reduction). Other benefits include less fatigue for operators and a healthier, smoother, and quieter driving experience without polluting the communities they serve.
What is the expected use life of the electric trolley, and how much money can using it save vs. a conventional one that uses gasoline?
Expected use life of the electric trolley is 10 years. 1,700 gallons of gasoline used during season x 2.41 gallon = $4,097 in fuel savings for one season x 10 years useful life = $40,970 in fuel savings for one trolley during its useful life.
Will maintenance and repair costs be lower for the electric trolley vs. a gas-powered one?
Absolutely! With less moving parts that break and need to be maintained, Motiv’s electric trolleys reduce operation and maintenance costs by up to 85%, resulting in a significantly lower total cost of operation over the vehicle’s life.
How much CO2 emissions will be avoided by replacing the gas trolley with an electric one?
The two trolleys would save 3,456 gallons of fuel over one season. Given a 10K annual mile usage with 104 miles per day, by switching from gasoline to electric, they estimate a 30-metric ton C02 reduction.
Is using an electric trolley more pleasant for riders because the electric motor is quieter and there are no exhaust emissions?
Absolutely! Being able to enjoy breathtaking views while not inhaling toxic pollution is something everyone can enjoy.
When will the second trolley be put into service?
The second trolley is expected to arrive in mid to late 2021.
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