KCATA unveils zero-emission buses sponsored by Evergy

April 12, 2021
The two buses from GILLIG offer enhanced passenger comfort and safety features and will be put into service later this spring on MAX lines and local routes.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) unveiled the first two electric buses April 7 to be used in RideKC service in the Kansas City, Mo., region. 

Evergy is sponsoring the vehicles with specially branded graphics. 

“This is just our first step into zero-emission vehicles,” said KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen. “We are committed to the region’s Climate Action Plan which calls for transitioning to an electric bus fleet. Zero fare electric buses will improve the financial and environmental health of our community.” 

Every Senior Director of Energy Solutions Kim Winslow added, “Evergy is excited to partner with KCATA to bring electric buses to Kansas City. Electric buses provide emission-free transportation and can help make our electric grid more efficient with overnight charging.”  

The two, 40-foot electric buses from GILLIG LLC will be put in service later this spring. In addition to a smoother, quieter ride and a reduced carbon footprint, the new GILLIG buses offer enhanced passenger comfort and safety features. These include easy-to-clean vinyl seats, USB charging ports at all seats, high-definition cameras, drivers’ protection barriers and passenger information monitors. 

Bus charging will be supported by new ChargePoint charging stations installed at KCATA. The project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and matching funds from Kansas City’s half-cent transportation sales tax. 

One of the electric vehicles will operate on MAX lines and the other will travel along other local routes so customers throughout the community will be able to enjoy the environmentally friendly benefits and quieter ride. 

The vehicles are powered by six onboard batteries, with a battery capacity of 444 kWh, providing an estimated range of 150 miles. The buses utilize energy recovered from a regenerative braking system and feature a direct-drive traction motor with peak torque of 3500 Nm (2,582 lbs.-ft.). They are equipped with Cummins electrified powertrain. Because they are built on GILLIG’s low-floor bus platform, the new electric buses ensure parts and training commonality with KCATA’s existing GILLIG fleet. 

“We’ve been partnering with KCATA for more than 20 years to provide safe, reliable, high-quality transportation,” said Bill Fay, GILLIG vice president of sales. “We are pleased to provide the first GILLIG battery-electric buses in Kansas City.”