Greater Portland METRO launches new battery-electric buses

May 18, 2022
The first electric buses to provide fixed-route public transit in Maine in more than 20 years will begin service this week.

Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) and Greater Portland METRO announced the addition of four battery electric Proterra ZX5 buses to their fleets.  

The first electric buses to provide fixed-route public transit in Maine in more than 20 years will begin service this week. Maine Gov. Janet Mills and other officials took part in the ribbon-cutting event, held at Ocean Gateway Visitor’s Center in Portland.   

“These buses aren’t just cutting emissions. They’re also cutting costs. These battery electric vehicles will cost us 60 to 80 percent less to power than diesel fuel buses, reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels. They will also improve the quality of public transportation for customers seeker a quieter ride,” said Gov. Janet Mills. “Today is just the start of our transition to a cleaner transportation system in Maine. Together I am confident that we can achieve our goal of carbon neutrality and combat the effects of climate change to preserve this precious state we all call home.” 

METRO Board Vice Chair and Westbrook Mayor Mike Foley and Portland Mayor Kate Snyder also provided remarks, among others. 

The bus launch event was hosted by Chad Heid, executive director of BSOOB Transit, and Greg Jordan, executive director of Greater Portland METRO. 

“These four electric buses replace four 20-year-old diesel buses and will be first set of electric transit buses in Maine since the early 2000s,” said Foley. “For Greater Portland METRO, this marks a first step in fulfilling our agency’s board adopted goal of achieving a zero-emission transit fleet by 2040.” 

The 35-foot buses were paid for using federal and state funding and cost approximately $900,000 each. Proterra, the bus manufacturer, estimates the bus has a range of 240 miles on a single charge. BSOOB and METRO have charging stations at their facilities.    

The buses operate at up to 25.1 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), about five times more efficient than diesel buses. The buses were manufactured at Proterra’s facility in Greenville, S.C. 

“Introducing electric buses to our city and region is an important step toward meeting the climate goals of the Portland-South Portland One Climate Future plan,” said Portland Mayor Kate Snyder. “With 54 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector, we also need keep developing our cities so that more people can get around by walking, biking and using public transit.”