The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) began testing prototype electric buses on its #66 Chicago route. The six Proterra made vehicles will be monitored and evaluated before CTA authorizes production of an additional 17 electric buses through an existing contract.
The installation of five electric quick-charging stations was also made possible through the existing 2018 contract. The charging stations were installed at the Navy Pier and Chicago/Austin bus turnarounds and the Chicago Avenue garage.
CTA first tested two electric buses in 2014 and the authority said both performed well in Chicago weather, which prompted the competitive procurement process to order additional electric buses.
CTA said the six buses entering service for evaluation puts the authority one step closer to its goal of “completely modernizing the agency’s bus fleet and making Chicago one of the greenest cities in the world.”
“The introduction of these new electric buses is just one example of how the CTA is committed to adding more green vehicles, addressing climate change and being more environmentally conscious,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Once these prototype vehicles pass the testing phase and we purchase additional electric buses, CTA will be one step closer to its goal of having a 100-percent electric fleet by the year 2040.”
CTA’s transition to a 100-percent electric fleet is supports Chicago’s push toward 100-percent renewable energy and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s goal of promoting “green” initiatives. CTA is expecting delivery of the remaining electric buses in early 2022.
CTA expects the new buses to deliver significant fuel and maintenance savings on top of improved air quality. The authority notes passengers can expect a smoother and quieter ride, as well as new overhead passenger information screens to show real-time travel information and other service information.