In its ongoing commitment to deploy the cleanest, most energy-efficient transit vehicles in Los Angeles County, Metro will purchase five new 60-foot electric buses and eight new charging stations for the San Fernando Valley’s Metro Orange Line thanks to a $4.3-million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency announced today.
Combined with Metro’s $5.8 million match utilizing Measure R sales tax funds approved by voters in 2008, $10.1 million will be invested to jumpstart the Orange Line’s planned transition to all electric buses. New Flyer Xcelsior XE60 electric buses will begin operation by the end of next year.
The Metro Board of Directors last week approved a motion calling for Metro to draw up plans to fully electrify the Orange Line by 2020.
Some other details:
•This will be the first deployment of 60-foot articulated electric buses for transit use in the United States and the Orange Line will be the highest ridership transit service ever tested for all-electric operation. The Orange Line averages about 27,000 boardings on weekdays and carried 74 million boardings in its first decade of service (the line opened in fall 2005).
•The project is expected to demonstrate the durability and reliability of lithium ion battery technology for high ridership transit lines.
•The electric buses will replace 60-foot compressed natural gas (CNG) articulated buses that are now reaching the end of their normal service life. Metro Liner CNG buses have a 500,000-mile, 12 year lifespan. There are currently 43 60-foot buses running on the Orange Line today.
•Buses will be capable of en route rapid charging and serving the Orange Line’s entire 22-hour daily schedule without having to return to the division for a recharge. Batteries can be fully charged in about seven minutes during scheduled bus layovers using a 450 kW rapid charger to be installed at terminus stations. The batteries are expected to provide a range of 66 miles between charges – enough for a minimum of four one-way trips. Additional charging systems will be installed at Metro’s Division 8 in Chatsworth for any off-peak charging needs.
•Metro also last week announced that it had received a $10.5-million federal grant to buy 30 new near-zero CNG buses and a $1.875-million state grant to retrofit 125 existing CNG buses in its fleet with near-zero emission CNG engines.
•Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel but burns more cleanly and with fewer emissions than the old diesel-powered engines. Electric buses will eliminate direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buses although some GHGs may result depending on how local utilities create their electricity.
•Still, generally speaking, taking transit is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint and help slow the pace of global warming. More here.
Here’s the full news release with quotes from elected officials.