In this episode of "Where are they now?"...Ray LaHood, who was transportation secretary between 2008 and mid-2013, certainly wasn't perfect, but he surprised many skeptics by favoring many policies that greens have been advocating for a long time. It looks like he's not ready to retire and go play golf or sip piña coladas on a beach somewhere, though. He's still working on some of the same issues that he was working on when inside the government, but now he's doing it in the private sector:
He has just joined Proterra, an electric bus company that makes EV buses that can be quickly charged (5-10 mins) while the bus is parked at a station, waiting for passengers to get in and out.
"I believe in the need for dependable, lower cost, more sustainable transit options," said LaHood. "EV is the future of transit, and I am pleased to lend my knowledge and support to building this future with Proterra – the clear industry leader and the only American EV bus manufacturer."
Proterra uses lithium titanate batteries that, it claims, allows them to be recharged in less than 10 minutes every few hours all day and still last eight years or more. They've also developed a special charging station that is 100% automated. The bus just goes under and a special arm overhead connects to the bus, charging the batteries are passengers get off and on the bus.
Using these smaller batteries that are charged more often is a way to keep costs and weight down compared to the approach of putting a much bigger battery in the bus that needs to be charged less often.
The company has done some math on how much money they think their system could save bus operators (see here). This is on top of environmental benefits from not burning diesel fuel, of course.