Working toward the California goal to have all public transit fleets consist only of zero emission vehicles by the year 2040, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has rolled out three of its five new Proterra zero emission electric buses for passenger service. The buses are currently running on Line 10 (Airport Flyer).
By using these vehicles, VTA is proactively reducing the consumption of natural resources, minimizing the creation of greenhouse gases to help protect the environment for future generations, and reducing the generation of pollution — all while delivering transportation solutions that meet the evolving mobility needs of Santa Clara County.
VTA is starting its electric bus program ahead of anticipated state mandates. In light of California’s statewide public transit goal, the Air Resources Board is considering mandates that would start in 2020 to transition towards that goal. Buses last a minimum of 12 years, so to achieve the goal, no bus using diesel, natural gas or gasoline could be purchased after 2027.
In addition to the fleet transition to electric, VTA is teaming up with Prospect Silicon Valley, and Bay Area tech companies to pilot a cutting-edge system that will charge those buses and track energy consumption while reducing the impact on the state’s electricity grid. This four-year “Vehicle to Grid Integration” (VGI) project will be closely followed by the public transit industry and other transportation providers, as they begin planning for their own fleet transitions to electric buses. The project will apply integrated systems to reduce charging costs through demand management and demand response.
VTA’s fleet of five electric buses has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases by 1,266 tons per year. That’s the equivalent of about 350 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The electric buses can also reduce diesel fuel by roughly 50,000 gallons per year.
The electric buses have 40 passenger seats. Our current diesel electric hybrid buses hold 37 people seated, and the 60-foot articulated buses hold up to 48 seated passengers.