Why electric buses matter

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Metro showed off one of its five new electric buses at a press event today with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and Wang Chuanfu, the chairman of BYD, the firm building the buses for Metro. As the above video shows, electric buses are very quiet (sorry about the ambient noise).

Without getting too stuck in the weeds, here’s why electric buses matter:

One of the five new electric buses made by BYD for Metro. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

One of the five new electric buses made by BYD for Metro. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

•Metro’s fleet of 2,000+ buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) produces less smog than the previous fleet powered by diesel. That’s a good thing.

•But…CNG buses still produce greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

•Electric buses are zero emission vehicles — they don’t directly produce smog or greenhouse gases (although generation of electricity might depending on the source). Bottom line: the cleaner the electricity, the cleaner the buses’ bottom line emissions.

Metro will be testing the range of the electric buses over the next six months to see how often and where they can be recharged — the buses should have a range in the neighborhood of 150 miles. If testing goes well, the agency has the option to purchase 20 more of the buses from BYD, which is assembling the buses in Lancaster.

Metro’s annual report on energy use has a ton of good stats and info about the agency’s efforts to lower its greenhouse gases.

Here’s video of speakers at today’s event:

9 replies

  1. Please put these buses on Lines 125, 128, 130, 205 and 232 for the South Bay MV Transporation because these routes needs AC when it gets very hot in the summer or on a hot days I hope they could put these buses on Lines 125, 128, 130, 205 and 232 in the summer.

    • All MTA buses have A/C. The question is if it’s turned on or not and if the contractor is maintaining it.

  2. I’ve no objection to thorough testing of these buses, but c’mon people, Metro must come clean on the anticipated full cost of ownership.
    – Source of electricity aside, electric buses could save considerably on routine maintenance and require new employee skills. Are Metro mechanics ‘at will’ employees who can be laid off if circumstances warrant it, or are they ‘special people’?
    – No fossil fuels (except maybe lube) used but the materials in those Batteries doesn’t mine and refine itself. Large battery banks have a limited lifetime – how is Metro figuring in the amortized costs?
    – Perhaps these nice, quiet buses should have radar-driven horns to alert self absorbed Mobile Device using pedestrians 🙂
    …. M.T.F.C. …. Mike

  3. Great news! Not only because of the zero emissions but for the Antelope Valley where jobs are needed, Great choice METRO.

  4. The MTA purchased about five electric buses previously from NABI. They were sidelined for a reason unknown to me and now sit at Division 12 with other older buses awaiting sale.

  5. You can’t put these buses on Line 460 because there is no charging station near the route.
    Are you going to use them for the routes that are begin at El Monte Station? That would be a good start.

    • As soon as we know what routes they will be used on, we’ll push that information about to everyone! Given their range, it will likely be shorter routes.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. Hopefully, they have fully-regenerative dynamic brakes, to harvest the braking energy. (Not only saves energy, but also, like any other kind of dynamic braking, saves brake linings).