The Greensboro Transit Authority will become the first municipal transit system in North Carolina to have all-electric battery-powered buses, when it rolls out four new vehicles next summer. The city has ordered four, 40-foot buses from Proterra. They will be custom manufactured at the company’s Greenville, South Carolina, facility.
“We are proud to be the first city in North Carolina to adopt zero-emission, battery-electric buses,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. “It’s our hope that Greensboro serves as a model for other North Carolina communities — one that will help improve the quality of life, and make our state even better place to live, learn, work, and play.”
This $3.84 million project is being funded with transportation bond funds approved by voters in November 2016 as well as federal and private grant money.
“At GTA, we want to offer our riders the opportunity to make sustainable choices through public transit. These new battery-electric Proterra buses will not only provide an environmentally-friendly service to our customers, they’ll also exemplify GTA’s commitment to eco-conscious infrastructure adoption and to strong fiscal responsibility,” said Adam Fischer, director of the Greensboro Department of Transportation. “Providing the community with the best service possible, and doing so in a way that benefits our residents and the environment, is at the core of GTA. As we move forward with the Mobility Greensboro 2040 plan, cutting back on emission levels and laying the foundation for sustainable urban ecosystems will be key to the future of Greensboro transportation system. That’s why we’re more than excited to officially deploy our new electric buses in the coming year.”
The new battery-powered buses will replace vehicles that have exceeded the recommended 12-year, 500,000-mile useful life of a bus. They produce no emissions and less noise than diesel buses. The all-electric buses require less energy to operate and reduced maintenance. They are expected to save the city an estimated $325,000 per bus in operating costs over their lifespan. Greensboro has a five-year contract with Proterra, and expects to purchase additional buses as it works to replace its full fleet.
Later this month, construction will begin to install a fast-charging battery station at the J. Douglas Gaylon Depot. It will be able to charge the bus battery in six to 12 minutes, as the bus drops off passengers and waits for new ones to board.