With the help of a CALSTART grant that was directed to Washington state by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Franklin Transit is working with Southern California-based Complete Coach Works to develop an all-electric remanufactured transit bus that has the capability of going more than 100 miles.
While an electric bus is innovative in itself, CCW is taking it one step further by significantly reducing the carbon footprint involved with building a transit bus by remanufacturing an existing bus into like-new condition, reducing capital expenditures in the process. Not only are carbon emissions reduced through this approach, but landfill pollution is reduced as well. When Ben Franklin Transit heard about this environmentally sustainable approach and what CCW was doing, the agency became part of a demonstration program and committed one of its buses.
“This is great news for Tri-Cities residents and businesses,” said Senator Murray. “As chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I was proud to help direct this funding to Washington state, and pleased that the bus will be operating soon in the Tri-Cities. I applaud the entire Ben Franklin Transit team for their work and I look forward to seeing the bus on Tri-City streets in the new year.”
Tim Fredrickson, general manager of Ben Franklin Transit is excited that the Tri-Cities agency was selected for the demonstration project. “At Ben Franklin Transit we are very happy to be a part of this project. We have been involved in another alternative energy demonstration and we have never been shy about experimenting with applications that make sense for the industry. However, this demonstration project may prove to be the future of electric public transportation for the next generations. We have long thought that the 'holy grail' of transportation is a non-polluting, heavy-duty, long-range battery and electric motor combination.
"At BFT our board of directors and staff are 100 percent committed to this project and are excited to be a part of our industry’s future. We especially wish to express our appreciation to Complete Coach Works for that insight and development of this proposal, to CalStart for their understanding of the needs of our industry, and to Senator Murray for her vision of a new transportation future.”
Mike Kluse, director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory stated, “PNNL has done extensive research on how electric vehicles can be widely adopted with minimal impact on the US electric grid, so we are thrilled to see more EVs in our community. PNNL is eager to participate in BFT’s electric bus project.
“Remanufacturing is a perfect solution to the industry’s current problems,” believes Macy Neshati, VP of Sales and Marketing at CCW. “It reduces waste at land-fills, transforms buses into like-new condition and is nearly half the cost of a new bus.”
Neshati thinks that the topic of zero-emission technology in general will only be successful if it is made viable and competitive. “Our research started with a defined goal to develop a remanufactured all-electric transit bus, one which agencies can afford and operate without limitations of adjusting their routes, or installing expensive charging stations,” he said. “Our Zero Emission Propulsion System, dubbed 'ZEPS' for short, is the world’s first and only remanufactured all-electric transit bus.”