Tampa International Airport receives four electric buses

May 10, 2023
The vehicles are the first electric buses to be owned and operated by TPA and will serve as a partial replacement for TPA's employee bus fleet.

The Tampa International Airport (TPA) has received four new electric buses. The electric buses will serve as a partial replacement for TPA's employee bus fleet, which transports people who work at TPA’s partner businesses from the North Employee Parking Lot off Hillsborough Avenue to the Main Terminal. The vehicles are the first electric buses to be owned and operated by TPA.

The Airport currently transports these employees aboard seven diesel buses, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each bus travels about 36,000 miles per year driving the loop from the Main Terminal to the north end of the airport campus. A group of six compressed natural gas-powered buses complements the diesel fleet when necessary.

The four new vehicles, K9M low-floor electric buses built by BYD Motors, are powered exclusively by electricity instead of fossil fuels. The 40-foot, 16-ton buses can travel up to 156 miles on a single charge, which can be fully replenished at a charging station in about four hours. Each ADA-accessible bus has seating for up to 37 passengers and is equipped with USB chargers and a luggage rack.

As part of its sustainability efforts, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which operates TPA and Hillsborough County’s three public General Aviation airports, won a federal 100 percent Zero -Emission Vehicle grant worth $4.65 million to purchase the buses and to install the charging stations at the North Employee Parking Lot to keep them running.

“One of HCAA’s primary sustainability goals is focused on ‘electrifying’ our campuses and reducing carbon emissions over this next decade,” said TPA Sustainability and Resilience Program Director Eric Caplan. “The addition of electric buses to our fleet will help us do just that. Not only will these buses assist us in achieving our sustainability goals, but the diversification of our transportation fleet will help make TPA’s campus more resilient to conditions that would affect our operational abilities, as well.”

The authority is now seeking more grant funding to help update the rest of the employee bus fleet. The charging stations and four electric buses are all due to come online by mid-May.

TPA is the first and only Florida airport to be engaged in the Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program, a carbon management certification standard for airports.