WMATA issues RFP for 10 electric buses

Dec. 22, 2021
The procurement supports the authority’s planned testing and evaluation program as it works to fully transition its 1,500-vehicle fleet to zero emission by 2045.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 10 40-foot battery-electric buses as part of its Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program.

The WMATA Board of Directors has set a goal to transition to zero-emission buses no later than 2045 and the RFP is a step to support that initiative.

WMATA plans to test the 10 buses, with two 60-foot battery-electric buses purchased through a separate Federal Transit Administration Low- or No-Emission Program Grant, through real-world operating conditions to help inform the authority’s future zero-emission bus purchases and infrastructure needs.

“Investing in a zero-emission bus fleet will contribute significant environmental and health benefits to the region by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving regional air quality,” said WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Zero-emission buses, including battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses, produce no tailpipe emissions while providing customers with a clean, quiet, and more comfortable ride.”

WMATA is taking a phased approach to transitioning its fleet of 1,500 buses to zero-emission and the authority will only purchase low- or zero-emission vehicles starting in 2023 with only zero-emission buses entering service by 2030. The authority notes the transition will require “significant funding and regional coordination” to operate and maintain the new fleet.

The upcoming test and evaluation program will see the battery-electric buses operate out of WMATA’s Shepherd Parkway Bus Division located in an Opportunity Zone encompassing low-income and economically distressed communities, and will serve routes across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

As WMATA continues with its fleet transition plans, the authority will build its first all-electric bus garage in northwest Washington, D.C., at its Northern Bus Garage, which opened in 1906 as a streetcar storage facility.

The four-year Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project will renovate the existing building into a modern facility featuring air filtration systems, solar panels and additional LEED characteristics

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