Sun Tran starts service of first electric bus

May 18, 2020
The zero-emission electric bus will improve air quality and enhance service to riders.

Sun Tran introduced its first electric bus into service May 17.

This is the first electric bus to be deployed in Sun Tran’s fleet and will be leased for the next year. Sun Tran says it has purchased and expects to receive five additional electric buses later this year, paid for with funding awarded by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low-No Emission Grant program.

Sun Tran and the city of Tucson, Ariz., note the advantages of incorporating an all-electric bus program, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering maintenance costs and offering quality service to passengers.

“Electric buses help improve our community’s air quality and avoid associated healthcare expenses,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.  “I encourage our community to try out our new electric bus. This is one step to making our community more climate-resilient, including electrifying our city’s vehicles and transit fleet.”

Since 2006, 100 percent of Sun Tran’s fleet has been powered by clean fuel technology. Sun Tran’s fleet currently runs on biodiesel, Compressed Natural Gas  and hybrid-electric power sources.

“Sun Tran is invested in creating an innovative and smart transportation system,” said Steve Spade, Sun Tran general manager. “Our passengers can be confident they are contributing to a more sustainable community and cleaner air.”

The electric bus will be used on various routes to test its performance in the Sun Tran system and in the desert climate. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) upgraded Sun Tran’s electrical system and installed a new bus charging system at no cost to Sun Tran. Thanks to TEP, Sun Tran says transportation with electric buses is possible in Tucson.

The 40-foot electric bus has a battery capacity of 444 kWh and features a low-floor design.