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Clean Transport

Published on January 16th, 2017 | by James Ayre


King County Metro To Buy 120 All-Electric Buses By 2020 (73 Coming From Proterra)

January 16th, 2017 by  

King County Metro Transit will be acquiring 120 new all-electric buses by the year 2020, going by a recent announcement from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

As part of this plan, King County Metro Transit (Seattle + surrounding cities) will be purchasing up to 73 buses from the US-based firm Proterra at a cost of up to $55 million. The first 20 of these, being purchased for $15.2 million, will go into service over the next couple of years, with 8 entering service this year and 12 entering service in 2019.

The charging stations that will be used to support the initial electric bus orders will total between $5.5 million and $6.6 million in costs.

“From our electric trolley bus fleet to building the nation’s largest diesel-hybrid bus fleet, King County has long been an innovator in clean vehicle technology,” stated Executive Constantine. “Now, we’re dramatically expanding our zero-emission electric buses and working with the industry to innovate and offer next generation vehicles that move people quietly and cleanly while helping meet our climate goals.”

The press release provides more:

The 40-foot battery buses have an estimated range of about 25 miles, with a quick charging time of just 10 minutes.

Maintenance costs of all-electric buses are expected to decline versus hybrid-diesels, primarily because they have fewer moving parts.

Eight of the buses are slated to go into service this year; 12 more in 2019. Up to eight of the new 40-foot battery buses will likely operate on Metro Routes 226 and 241 in Bellevue. As part of a pilot project last year, Metro began running three all-electric buses on these routes, which serve some of the county’s densest job centers, including the Microsoft campus and downtown Bellevue.

As part of today’s announcement, Metro will acquire up to nine long-range electric buses from different manufacturers to test the battery technology with a range of about 140 miles. With this approximately $7 million acquisition, Metro is challenging the industry to produce buses that can travel farther. Metro also is calling on the industry to develop 60-foot long buses, better able to replace the articulated buses that make up 55 percent of its fleet.

It should probably be remembered here that the electric grid in the region is powered primarily by hydroelectric projects, and that the transportation sector is responsible for around half of all regional emissions. Taken together, that means that transitioning the public transit bus fleet to all-electrics will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a degree that few other (publicly palatable) actions could.

Image by King County



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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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