The United States currently has over 300 zero emission buses running in various transit agencies throughout the country and has plans to fund even more through the aid of federal, state, and local grants. Below are some of the most proactive operators who are leading the transition to a cleaner, battery powered fleet.
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SunLine Transit – SunLine Transit Agency serves California’s Coachella Valley, connecting 9 cities over a 1,100 square mile span. The transit agency led a demonstration in 2012 of the American Fuel Cell Bus, a U.S. manufactured fuel cell bus funded by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the National Fuel Cell Bus Program. The American Fuel Cell Bus is one of three hydrogen fueled buses SunLine operates. SunLine also runs an alternative fueling station in Thousand Palms, California that offers CNG and hydrogen dispensers to the public.
Antelope Valley Transit Authority – Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) serves the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale and the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County in California. AVTA plans to convert their entire fleet of aging diesel buses to 100% battery electric buses by 2018. Funded by California State Transportation Agency, AVTA’s Electric Bus Fleet Conversion project will purchase 29 electric buses and install wireless inductive chargers that can recharge the buses through embedded charging pads on the ground. The first of these 29 electric buses are planned to operate by the summer of 2016.
Chicago Transit Authority – The Chicago Transit Authority is the second largest public transportation system in the U.S. and serves the City of Chicago and its 35 surrounding suburbs. The CTA was the first major U.S. transit agency that used all-electric buses in daily service: 2 electric buses were added to their 1,800 bus fleet in 2014. These buses were funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) and Clean Fuels grant programs and a local Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant. In January 2016, CTA announced plans to purchase 20-30 new all-electric buses over the next several years.
Transit Authority of River City – Transit Authority of River City (TARC) serves Greater Louisville in Kentucky and Clark and Floyd Counties in southern Indiana. TARC operates 10 all-electric Zero Buses that have replaced diesel-powered trolley buses in downtown Louisville. These ZEBs are fueled by 2 charging stations that can fully charge one bus in 10-15 minutes. The buses were funded through a combination of federal, state, and local grants.
China operated close to 500 ‘alternative fuel’ (the Chinese term encompassing hybrid and zero emission technologies) vehicles for the 2008 Beijing Olympics; this interest and investment in sustainable transit was further demonstrated in 2014 as China added 15,000 alternative fuel buses to its transit fleets. Here are just some of the cities that have made headway in advancing zero emission buses in China:
Nanjing, China – Nanjing Public Transportation Group ordered more than 1,000 electric transit buses and taxies for its public transit fleets in the city of Nanjing. 50 of the battery electric buses were used specifically for the Youth Olympic Games in August 2014. Nanjing is one of the pilot cities chosen by China’s Central Government to participate in air quality improvement programs.
Shenzhen, China – Shenzhen ordered 300 electric buses for their 2011 International Universiade Games and incorporated these buses into their city bus fleet afterwards. Shenzhen plans to electrify its entire bus and taxi fleets and has been constructing charging centers throughout the city to accomplish this. As publicized in a video by BYD at the end of 2015, Shenzhen will be receiving another large order of electric buses in the near future.
Ningbo, China – Ningbo’s transit fleet currently operates an electric bus manufactured locally that completely charges in 10 seconds, when passengers get on or off. The bus also converts more than 80% of its braking energy into electricity, allowing it to reduce electricity consumption by 30%-50%. Ningbo plans to add more of these electric buses to its public transit fleets by 2018.
Shanwei City, China – Shanwei City in Guangdong Province began operating the first of a 300 electric bus order in its public transportation fleet in January 2016. Shanwei City aims to operate 1,810 electric buses in its fleet by the end of 2017, with a goal of 3,010 by 2019. In addition to integrating electric buses into its fleet, the Shanwei government is building an electric vehicle manufacturing base and developing the accessory industry chain.
These cities are just a few of many which have been working toward greater electrification of their fleet vehicles. Stay tuned to see more advancements as the Race continues!