The race into fully electric long range buses is heating up as San Diego puts in an order for 6 of New Flyer’s new 40 -oot buses.
The buses will come equipped with 480 kilowatt-hour (kWh) batteries which will support the longer range routes being explored by the pilot. New Flyer offers its fully electric Xcelsior CHARGE buses with up to a 600 kWh battery which yields a range of up to 260 miles per charge, giving transit agencies the ability to electrify routes that were previously out of reach for electrification.
The 6 buses from the pilot order were funded with a combination of state grants, California Cap-and-Trade Program funds, and the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 monies. Together, they will pave the way forward for San Diego as part of its commitment to slash its carbon emissions in support of California’s Climate Action targets.
“New Flyer is proud to offer zero-emission solutions for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System,” President of New Flyer of America Wayne Joseph said. “We are thrilled to continue partnering with California transit agencies in pursuit of cleaner air and environmental preservation, and we commend MTS on its climate leadership through continued commitment to delivering emission-free solutions to San Diego and the surrounding community.”
As part of the deal, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System approved funding to purchase nine depot chargers for the buses from New Flyer. Six depot chargers will be installed at the SDMTS Imperial Avenue Division station to offer overnight charging, while three more chargers will be installed at fixed-route operating facilities to allow the agency to expand the effective range of the new fleet.
The new long range electric buses will be delivered by New Flyer in 2019 and will be vetted across a variety of new routes to help the transit agency understand the strengths and limitations of New Flyer’s electric buses as they move off of the spec sheet and out onto the asphalt. In addition to being fully electric, New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE buses will come equipped with an onboard video surveillance system, modern wheelchair restraint systems, electric air conditioning and accessory systems.
New Flyer’s new fleet of long range electric buses provide transit agencies and the municipalities that govern them with another tool in their kit with which to attack the chronic heavy diesel emissions that buses are known for. This is especially exciting for long range buses as they have historically been one of the last hold outs for diesel powertrains in transit.
At this point, there is no excuse to buy diesel buses, allowing city leaders and citizens to raise the bar for transit agencies around the world. The question is no longer ‘Can our fleet be electrified?’ but rather ‘How much longer will we allow public funds to be used to purchase diesel buses?’