Electric buses a first for Metro Transit

Metro Transit's battery-electric buses

MINNEAPOLIS -- Metro Transit is adding battery-electric buses to its new rapid bus line.

Six 60-foot articulated buses will be used on the C Line, which will largely replace Route 19 service between downtown Minneapolis and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center, when it opens in 2019.

The 60-foot battery-electric buses will be among the first put into service in the United States.

"What we know is that as the electrical grid becomes more and more clean, more use of solar and wind technology, we'll benefit from that as well so that there's even less of a carbon or fossil fuel impact related to how we transport folks," said Brian Funk, deputy chief operating officer for bus at Metro Transit.

Metro Transit already has more than 130 hybrid buses. In 2015, Metro Transit tested out three manufacturers' all-electric buses. They ultimately partnered with New Flyer who has a facility in St. Cloud.

A $1.75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration will help pay for a portion of the buses and technology needed to charge them. Charging stations will be placed at Metro Transit's Heywood Garage and at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center. On a full charge, the buses can run for up to 150 miles.

"What it does is it helps to jumpstart our program with our transit vehicles to continue to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels," Funk said. "These buses essentially have zero tailpipe emissions."

According to Funk, one 60-foot battery-electric bus costs a little over a million dollars. While the buses cost more upfront, Funk said they will save money on maintenance costs and will have fewer midlife overhauls and replacements.

Most of the construction for the C Line will start in 2018. It includes improvements to the roads, construction of new stations and added amenities such as security cameras, off-board fare payment kiosks and well-lit shelters.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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