Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) put its first electric bus into service at the end of January. State and local officials gathered Feb. 21 to celebrate GTA's commitment to "dump the pump" to become the first transit in North Carolina to begin service with all electric, battery-powered buses.
"This is a big deal and a big day not only for Greensboro, but for the state of North Carolina," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said to a crowd of about 100 people gathered at Koury Aviation hangar.
The 40-foot no-emission, low-noise buses are being designed and built by Proterra. The buses are capable of providing up to 175-200 miles of sustainable transportation service before recharging is required. Overnight charging kiosks constructed at the GTA Maintenance facility ensure each bus begins the day with a full charge. The GTA's Depot also has an overhead quick charge kiosk that can charge a battery in as little as eight minutes. GTA explains that regenerative braking will provide electricity to the bus batteries while out in the field.
Greensboro' Department of Transportation Director Adam Fischer said the buses will cost an estimated $350,000 less in maintenance costs over their lifetime of service compared to diesel buses.
GTA also explained that the buses are designed for an enhanced rider experience with the addition of USB ports, as well as a rear window and moon roofs to eliminate a claustrophobic environment. As with all of the GTA fleet, the buses are accessible for persons with disabilities featuring kneeling capability, loading ramp, audio announcements and wheelchair tie-downs.
Gov. Cooper recently signed an executive order saying the state will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. One way to achieve this, the governor explained, is to switch to electric vehicles in government vehicle fleets.
"We can do that by creating green jobs in clean energy and renewable energy and by shifting to more energy efficient and electric vehicles," Gov. Cooper said.