Sometimes we have to go way back in history to appreciate what is going on today.
Take the genesis of public transportation, notably the bus. The first ones appeared as carriages pulled by horses and carrying a handful of passengers. Gas and electricity would come to power the vehicles as the need grew to carry more folks across town.
If we recall those lifestyle-changing modifications, then we understand better the rise of the buses powered by alternative energy.
In Anderson — with its already rich heritage in the auto industry — there was a recent demonstration by a South Carolina firm of its EcoRide bus, a zero-emission alternative to traditional public transit. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has deemed the 35-foot-long battery-powered vehicle as the “bus of tomorrow.” The battery is designed and produced by Altair Nanotechnologies of Anderson for Proterra Inc.
The battery allows the bus to run for an hour on each five-minute rapid charge. There are 16 buses currently on the road although none are in Indiana. None yet, that is.
The hope, of course, is for municipalities, like Anderson, to buy into the concept and order buses. Anderson could be a likely tie-in with its own home-based enterprise.
But the concept goes beyond our own community buying into the latest technology for public transportation. The production of the battery locally signals to others that Anderson is still a viable player in the auto industry. Having Altair Nanotechnologies located here is a good sign for Anderson’s future. But Anderson’s role in such advancements is also a significant factor in the always-changing world of transportation.