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Clean Transport

Published on October 3rd, 2019 | by Kyle Field

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ChargePoint To Lead The Push Into Electric Charging For The San Francisco MTA

October 3rd, 2019 by  


ChargePoint is doubling down on its fleet efforts this week with news of a massive deal with one of the nation’s largest transit agencies to supply charging services.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is working to converting its fleet to fully electric vehicles by 2035, which necessitates a significant intelligent charging network to keep charging expenses optimized. If left unmanaged, fleet charging expenses can easily exceed the cost of fuel for even combustion vehicles.

ChargePoint's Express Plus fast chargers

A bank of ChargePoint’s Express Plus family fast chargers. Image courtesy: ChargePoint

The SFMTA’s push to electrify all of its 800 vehicles is proof positive that progressive fleet managers and transit authorities can build on the significant progress in electric buses to clean up their emissions starting today. Experts in the space expect electric buses to comprise half of all buses in service in the United States by 2029 and nearly 70% of all buses in operation by 2040. The rapid pace of adoption of electric buses shows how compelling financials have reached the tipping point where it hardly makes financial sense for agencies to purchase combustion-powered buses anymore.

“SFMTA’s firm commitment to the electrification of their fleet is proof that the shift to electric mobility is upon us and there is no turning back,” said Michael Hughes, Chief Commercial and Revenue Officer at ChargePoint. “The electrification of the Woods Bus Yard in San Francisco will stand as a benchmark around the country, creating a blueprint for the increasing number of transit agencies exploring the future of their fleets. ChargePoint is eager to support SFMTA’s efforts to build a foundation that will pave the way to the transformation of their entire 800-plus bus fleet by 2035.”

To transform the charging challenge into an opportunity, SFMTA will be installing solutions from ChargePoint’s Express Plus charging suite at its Woods Bus Yard as part of a larger revitalization effort at the depot. Renovations at the Woods Bus Yard, including the new charging infrastructure, is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2020. Nine new fully electric buses will arrive around the same time and will utilize the new charging infrastructure to keep their batteries topped up on electrons.

San Francisco MTA electric bus

Image courtesy: SFMTA

“This is an important and vital step toward our commitment to a greener fleet,” said Tom Maguire, Interim SFMTA Director of Transportation. “These charging stations are a crucial part of the transition to zero emission, battery powered buses and a shining example of why the SFMTA is a leader in the fight against climate change.”

The installation of the new 150 kW DC fast charging stations and supporting infrastructure at the Woods Bus Yard will commence later this year when the project kicks into high gear. $3.6 million in funding for the SFMTA Woods Bus Yard upgrade was secured last year as part of a much larger federal initiative to rehabilitate crumbling infrastructure across the country with matching funds from SB 1 State of Good Repair Funding.

“We are excited to hit the ground running and implement much-needed upgrades at one of our largest Muni maintenance yards,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin said at the time funds were received. “Facilities and training may not be the most exciting topic, but they are an essential part of our work to improving Muni and making it a more reliable service that people can depend on.”

Installing the infrastructure required to electrify the fleet was also a core component of the plan, and the 9 new ChargePoint Express Plus DC charging solutions capable of delivering 150 kW charging speeds with power provided by 9 ChargePoint Power Blocks will move the agency forward into the age of electrification. The ChargePoint Express Plus family of solutions was designed from the ground up to be modular and upgradable, enabling the fleet to upgrade or modify the solution as needs change in the future.

Perhaps more importantly than the physical chargers themselves and even the infrastructure supporting them behind the scenes, ChargePoint’s software will manage the chargers to optimize the efficiency to reduce the overall cost of charging for the fleet. We are increasingly living in a world where it is not the physical hardware that dictates whether or not a solution or project is viable, but rather, the software managing everything behind the scenes that makes all the difference. ChargePoint’s fleet software solution includes power and energy management tools, and a comprehensive dashboard with real-time status, and other vital information, to ensure maximum uptime. 
 
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