Seattle’s King County Metro Signs Contract To Purchase Two EV Buses With Option To Buy 200 More

3 years ago by Mark Kane 23

With the purchase of buses by King County Metro, Seattle joins the growing roster of U.S. metropolitan areas employing zero-emission, EV transit buses from Proterra Inc.

With the purchase of buses by King County Metro, Seattle joins the growing roster of U.S. metropolitan areas employing zero-emission, EV transit buses from Proterra Inc.

Proterra EV Bus With Electrifying Appearance

Proterra EV Bus With Electrifying Appearance

Proterra announced sale of two 40-foot (12 meter) battery-electric transit buses and a fast charge system to King County Metro in Seattle, Washington, which are scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2015.

Moreover, the agency has the pre-arranged an option to purchase up to 200 more buses and additional fast charge systems over the next five years.

Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra stated:

“Driven by strong economic and environmental benefits, the public transportation market is adopting EV technology and proving-out the business case. King County Metro is one of the largest and most technologically-advanced transit agencies in the United States, and we are thrilled that they have chosen Proterra for this exciting program. In addition to having a positive impact on the Seattle area, King County Metro’s willingness to adopt EV buses as a means to reduce emissions and fuel costs will help other agencies understand and perfect the deployment of EV transit vehicles.”

Seattle area joins the group of metropolitan areas with Proterra electric buses, which includes Stockton and Pomona, Calif.; San Antonio, Texas; Worcester, Mass.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Seneca, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Reno, Nev.; and Louisville, Ky.

To date, all of those buses have logged nearly 500,000 road miles.

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23 responses to "Seattle’s King County Metro Signs Contract To Purchase Two EV Buses With Option To Buy 200 More"

  1. IDK says:

    Mixed feelings…Metro is cutting service in many areas around and in Seattle since they can’t afford to continue service routes.

    1. Big Solar says:

      Maybe they will be able to start it back up once they realize the savings from electric buses….?

      1. IDK says:

        I hope so Big Solar. There are many low income riders (among others) that depend on the bus routes that are being cut.

        On a good note Seattle already has a sizable fleet of electric trolley buses (159), Diesel-electric hybrids and CNG buses.

        1. Assaf says:

          My guess is “it’s not the same money”.

          Usually in those public agencies there’s one type of money for capital purchases, and another for operating expenses.

          It’s typically easier to get money for the former, than to sustain the budget for the latter.

          But maybe I’m wrong… either way a welcome addition.

          And if we get our act together and vote out the bums who stuck the Legislature without a transportation package for years – Metro’s budget will be replenished once again.

          It’s not like Western Washington economy is doing poorly or anything. Just little ugly people stuck in the corridors of power like a nail without a head.

    2. DaveMart says:

      Electric buses may possibly help the economics of buses.

      That is because they are smoother.
      One of the hassles of bus travel is that diesel buses are smelly as well as jolt around.

      Here in the UK for older people like me buses are free, but many like me who have a car still almost never use them, and the less than comfortable travel they provide is a big part of the reason why not.

      Once buses are more comfortable they may attract people who can afford to travel by other means in greater numbers, hopefully aiding a virtuous cycle to be set up.

      1. IDK says:

        There are plenty of riders…that’s not the issue. Mismanagement of budget funds is one key issue.

        Service cuts are coming UPDATED 9/4/2014

        September 2014
        Metro will cut 151,000 hours of bus service to match our service to available revenues.

        February 2015
        A second round of cuts has been recommended to the King County Council for February 2015. If the Council approves these cuts, and if a transit initiative is approved by Seattle voters in November 2014, the February cuts could be postponed until June 2015 to allow Seattle and other parties to submit Community Mobility Contracts to preserve service.

        More cuts possible in 2015
        Future reductions and revisions will be considered as part of the upcoming biennial budget process.

        http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/

        1. Mikael says:

          When reading your first comment it was easy to assume that you meant that the EV buses and the poor budget management had anything to do with each other.

          On the other hand you should be happy that they now are looking at a more economical option with the EV’s than before, taking responsability for the economics.

          1. IDK says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for EV’s and electric buses. However, for Seattle this isn’t the time until they get their budget in order. The agency is currently running a $75 million deficit each year.

            http://mynorthwest.com/11/2540594/KC-Exec-vetoes-effort-to-stem-Metro-cuts

            1. Assaf says:

              It’s not mismanagement by Metro. Metro is one of the best transit agencies on the continent.

              It’s 1. the idiotic no-income-tax revenue system, that makes all public agencies in Washington extremely recession sensitive, because sales tax $$ drops like a rock.

              And 2. the back-stabbing of two Democratic state senators who crossed the lines to establish a majority with Republicans (the Governor is Dem and an environmentalist, the state House is solidly Dem). They jammed the wheels of the Legislature, and failed to issue a transportation budget for a couple years in a row now.

              IDK is blaming the victim here.

        2. DaveMart says:

          ‘Plenty of riders’ is a bit indefinite.

          Certainly the problem in the UK is that there are a lot of riders in the rush hour, but relatively low ridership and half empty buses most of the day which are still using fuel and taking a driver’s wages, the two biggest elements of cost.

          So to balance the books the bus companies’ cut back on the service and run a less frequent service, which makes using them a less practical and convenient option, which further reduces the number of passengers.

          In urban areas across the world however the imperative towards buses/shared rides is increasing all the time, as they are simply way more efficient at using road space.

          Electric vehicles will contribute to this by reducing fuel costs, which as capital costs of batteries/hydrogen REs and so on decreases will help ever more, as will the contribution to holding down the third highest cost of public transport, maintenance due to their relative simplicity.

          Meanwhile within the next few years automation should take out the need for drivers, at least around fixed routes, whilst mobile phones and automated minibuses give the possibility of shared rides on demand which provide door to door service.

          So I see the future of public transport as bright, although getting there will not be easy, just like some public transport journeys! 😉

      2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Absolutely agree on making the bus smoother. I was a bus and rail commuter in the UK and very familiar with rattling buses. But smoother is also helpful for the bus drivers, and lower exhaust emissions better for everybody.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    I like this Proterra bus as it has the potential to be affordable due to it’s reasonably sized battery pack. It is pure electric…. PLUS it is made by a US company in the US. What’s not to like?

    Here’s to hoping Proterra makes a go of it.

    1. Rick Danger says:

      +1

  3. Ellison says:

    Pretty excellent, but the BYD electric buses Stanford is buying are even more amazing.

    They seem a better fit for the west coast since they are partially made with solar in Lancaster, near LA.

    I understand the BYD buses can go all day, over one hundred miles while the Proterra needs to QuickCharge every thirty.

    Since they are made in SC, they seem better to use locally for agencies on the east coast.

    But is is always good to get more electric buses on the road.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      The Proterra idea works well for typical urban service buses which have short routes, and stops at termini where they can be plugged in.

      Question is whether you can save enough through having a smaller battery, to make up for the frequent fast charging and higher average C-rate.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        That’s the key trade off.

        I haven’t put together the numbers yet.
        But I bet it optimizes out at around 80 kwh and then do the rest w/ fast charging.
        I like this bus , but I think the battery is a tad too small.

        1. DaveMart says:

          A smaller battery charged a lot will wear out faster, which is a major cost.

          The lower weight of a smaller pack will help a bit to improve mileage however.

          1. Anthony says:

            If they’re using Li-Titanate (which I think they are), they’re good for 5,000-10,000 cycles. At 30 miles per, that’s 150,000 to 300,000 miles.

            1. DaveMart says:

              Indeed.
              I believe however that they are considerably more expensive than the LiFePo used by BYD.

  4. jmac says:

    Here’s an article about the batteries that will be used in the Protera Bus, lithium titanate, Li2TiO3. Altairnano was one company producing this battery.

    http://chargedevs.com/newswire/proterra-to-use-toshiba-scib-batteries-in-its-next-generation-electric-bus/

  5. Dennis says:

    How much did the bus cost? How much was the charging station?

  6. Martin T says:

    Well electric buses in the city make a lot of sense, stop go – even recharge at the stops to carry smaller batteries would be smart.

    End of Detroit diesel powered buses for city use….
    Hybrid trains should be installed in long distance haulers

  7. Tom The Bus Driver says:

    come on make me FEEL GOOD That is what Electric busses are all about. Look what we are doing to save the World..