Chicago Transit Authority Adding Electric Buses

FEB 24 2016 BY MARK KANE 16

New Flyer Industries electric bus at fast charging station

New Flyer Industries electric bus at fast charging station

The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) once had the largest trolley fleet in the U.S., but trolley buses ran for the last time on March 25, 1973.

In 2014, CTA added two New Flyer Xcelsior XE40 all-electric buses and it seems that they are willing to expand their electric fleet again.

In the new modern edition, electric buses don’t need those power lines on the streets – a couple fast charging stations along the route or at the home base would be enough.

According to the reports from Chicago, CTA got permission to switch an $8.1 million federal grant for 26 hybrid, articulated buses (60-foot) to 27 standard-sized electric buses (40-foot).

That would be the largest all-electric bus fleet in the U.S. so far, or one of the largest at least if some other transit agency adds more EVs quicker.

It is big chance for EVs as CTA intends to purchase more than 1,000 buses in the near future.

“The CTA will use any new electric buses to “further inform in-service tests of the electric bus technology” and to help the agency decide the right mix of buses when it makes its next major procurement, a purchase of more than 1,000 buses in 2020, the CTA wrote in comments to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Those new buses would presumably be used to replace more than half the CTA’s existing fleet of 1,888 buses, offering the agency the chance to convert to a majority-electric fleet if funding allows.”

According to the article, the electric bus costs around $800,000 and a $300,000 grant covers the difference between the electric and diesel bus (around $500,000). Annual fuel savings stands at around $25,000.

“CTA spokesman Brian Steele cautioned that the CTA does not yet know how many additional electric buses it might buy, or exactly when, but it views the technology as so “promising” — even as compared with a hybrid bus — that it is worth an expanded test.

For the past 14 months, the CTA has been running its two “green machines” — green-painted electric buses — on a variety of routes and conditions, including 90-degree heat, snow, rain and ice.

They have been averaging 97 miles a day on one charge from a garage. If outfitted with a new “enroute” charging system, they could achieve as many as 700 miles a day, CTA officials told CMAP.”


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16 Comments on "Chicago Transit Authority Adding Electric Buses"

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Chicago Transit Authority by request:

Great News. So the older Hybrid articulated buses are replaced with standard size Electric Buses.

Ideally the non-hybrid diesel buses should be replaced first before touching on Hybrids.

But the $800,000 cost seems to be a rip-off. I am sure the BYD K9 is lot more cheaper.

I wish Tesla soon starts making Electric buses and selling at a affordable price.

That’s a Great Idea.

Musk should get into this business.
I bet those buses would also be more aerodynamic too.

They never actually bought the articulated hybrids.

Instead they got approval to change the use of the Federal grant money to purchase pure electric models instead.

Do you have the specs? Battey size specs? If no – how can you say it is more expensive?

Cool. But just remember, China is buying 40,000 electric buses a year to replace their diesel buses. We are so far behind…

The south votes economically challenged Republican.
You can’t expect America to lead with such a DRAG on Economic Growth.

Alpha, this isn’t just a red-blue thing, it is a stupid thing. Seattle is liberal, bought a fleet of hybrid buses (not plug in but they can run on their batteries only for relatively short distances) perfect for the stop start routes. They put them on the suburban express routes instead. So they got no improvement in mpg.
People just don’t get battery powered buses yet.

I wish I owned a fleet of Electric Buses!

I got a ride in a hybrid bus a couple of times. To my surprise, the diesel Motor s always on, not second i pure electric mode. buses make no sense

Not necessarily. This probably wasn’t a plug-in.
And whether it mskes sense depends on the exact workload.
Many train locomotives use a serial hybrid diesel-electric drivetrain, as do many ships — it’s more efficient. This may have been a similar set-up.

I thought Chicago was financially destitute.

Don’t tell me, these are purchased using debt or pension funds as usual.

How they be destitute with the municipal taxes as high as they are? It’s known as the corruption tax adds about 12% cost on average to most things.

This must really be pissing off GM (and the various other companies involved), considering how hard they worked to destroy the various streetcar systems way back, just to boost auto sales.

It’s only going to get them flaming mad when these cities start rebuilding their streetcar systems and digging new subway tunnels.

The fact that these are cars and buses GM is perfectly happy.