City of Seneca Signs Contract for Proterra Zero-Emission EcoRide Transit Buses

June 29, 2012
Electric buses to aid in operating cost, carbon footprint reduction, jobs.

Proterra has signed an agreement with the city of Seneca, S.C. to deliver four new EcoRide zero-emission transit buses and two charging stations. The contract follows Seneca’s initial announcement in November 2011 of its intention to use funds from a $4.1 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) TIGGER (Transit Investments in Greenhouse Gas and Emissions Reduction) grant, along with local matching funds, to purchase Proterra buses.

Upon delivery of these EcoRide buses, the city of Seneca will be the first in the nation to operate a fully electric bus system and to do so on a “fare-free basis.” Operated by Clemson Area Transit (CATbus), these vehicles will serve both the city and the students of Clemson University. City of Seneca and CATbus officials believe this “green” project, with plans for future expansion, will not only greatly reduce fuel costs, but also lead to job creation and a more sustainable future.

“We could not be more proud to be at the forefront of clean, emissions-free transit,” said CATbus general manager Al Babinicz. “It is rare that a community of our size gets to play as important a role in advancing clean transit, and we hope to expand on our efforts by helping make the entire CATbus system emissions-free in the future.”

Seneca’s current diesel bus fleet averages less than four miles per gallon; with current fuel prices averaging close to $4.00 per gallon, the running cost per mile for fuel alone is $1.05. Proterra EcoRide transit buses average 20 diesel-equivalent miles per gallon, or about $.18 per mile — a huge cost savings.

“Seneca realizes that zero-emission transit solutions not only have a positive effect on the environment, but also on their bottom line” said David Bennett, chief executive officer for Proterra. “Proterra’s fast-charging battery-electric buses take less than 10 minutes to fully charge and offer significant operational savings over traditional diesel or hybrid vehicles.”

Foothill Transit in Pomona, Calif., is already operating three EcoRide buses — which have been in service since September of 2010. VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, Texas, and StarMetro in Tallahassee, Fla., will be taking delivery of their EcoRide buses during 2012. Proterra is manufacturing these orders at its current assembly line plant in Greenville, S.C.

Photo courtesy of Azure Dynamics
Transit Connect electric motor inverter.
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