ABQ RIDE debuts electric bus

Feb. 1, 2021
The 40-foot Proterra bus seats 37 passengers and will run its first route on Route #66-Central.

ABQ RIDE has introduced the city’s first electric bus, ushering in a new era in reducing the carbon footprint of Albuquerque, N.M.

The 40-foot electric bus will run its first route on Route #66-Central. ABQ RIDE introduced the new electric bus at a news conference at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The new bus, and the five additional electric buses on their way this year, are one part of Mayor Tim Keller Administration’s commitment to make Albuquerque a 100 percent renewable-energy city by 2030. In addition to the new buses, over the past three years the mayor has:

  • Signed the Paris Agreement committing to climate action;
  • Installed 38 solar projects at city-owned buildings;
  • Added dozens of electric vehicle charging stations across Albuquerque;
  • Helped local businesses reduce their energy bills through the Mayor’s Energy Challenge;
  • Made the transition to more sustainable LED street lights citywide;
  • Provided more than 200 local homes with free energy audits and upgrades;
  • Launched Solar Direct project to get to achieve more than 80 percent renewable energy use by fall 2021;
  • Purchased the first electric vehicles for the city fleet;
  • Achieved LEED for Cities Silver certification; and
  • Ranked 5th Most Improved City on the 2020 ACEEE Clean Energy Scorecard.

“Albuquerque is on the route to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030—and we’re rolling out another big step toward that goal with near-zero emission electric buses,” said Mayor Keller. “When we lower the carbon emissions coming from our roads, we lower our carbon footprint, and we uphold our commitment to a cleaner, healthier Albuquerque.

The electric bus is a Proterra Catalyst E2, which seats 37 passengers, though it may have fewer seats for the time being with COVID-safe measures in place. Proterra was chosen through a bid process with several companies to lease one electric bus for a year to test on Albuquerque’s streets.

“We’re hopeful this bus will the first of many to come to Albuquerque that will be an alternative to the diesel buses that Transit has used for decades,” said Danny Holcomb, transit director.

Drivers and maintenance staff for the electric bus have been training in-house and on the bus since December; trained by ABQ RIDE supervisors, who received their training by Proterra’s trainers via Zoom.

The bus will start out on the Route 66-Central Avenue route and will eventually be assigned to cover other routes as well. ABQ RIDE anticipates a range of 150 to 175 miles on one battery charge. The city hopes to buy five more Proterra Catalyst E2 buses this year. Funding for the buses comes from grants provided by the Federal Transit Administration.