First All-Electric Bus Rapid Transit Route Now Open In U.S.

AUG 20 2017 BY MARK KANE 20

San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) has announced the launch of the nation’s first 100% electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route in August.

San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) will convert its existing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Express Route 44 to 100 percent battery-electric, zero-emissions buses in August

RTD switches to all-electric buses on route 44 using new EVs from Proterra, which are capable of driving up to 40 miles or 2 hours on a charge (with uber-fast charging to stay topped-off, taking about 10 minutes).

“At the time of the conversion, Route 44 will be extended to serve passengers from the Downtown Transit Center (DTC) in Central Stockton to as far south as Qantas Lane near Arch-Airport Road.  The change will enable people who work or study at locations such as PG&E, Dorfman Pacific, Venture Academy, San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the Economic Development Department Qantas Lane office, to commute rapidly and economically.”

“The price of each bus is approximately $850,000.  RTD received grant funding to cover the cost of the new electric buses.”

Donna DeMartino, RTD’s CEO said:

“We at RTD are proud of our history of commitment to clean energy initiatives. With the nation’s first all-electric BRT route, RTD and Stockton are now leading the charge in providing safe, efficient, reliable, and exceptionally clean transportation to people who live and work in south Stockton.”

The Second all-electric BRT route is to be launched by RTD in January 2018, along the MLK corridor in South Stockton – that route will connect with RTD’s existing three BRT corridors.

By 2025 all routes serving the City of Stockton are planned to be converted to 100 percent electric, zero emission buses.  Which sounds like a pretty swell idea to us!

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20 Comments on "First All-Electric Bus Rapid Transit Route Now Open In U.S."

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I must say I don’t like the idea of 40 mile buses. Sure, it can work, but you have to add a bunch of rapid chargers along the route. Long range buses will work on existing routes without any additional cost.

The circular routes aren’t that long to require so many charges.

agreed. bigger battery and lower powered charges spaced at longer intervals.

I thought Proterra was moving in that direction so I guess I don’t understand why their new long range electric wasn’t used.

They have more than one product. The short range buses have an insanely fast charging capability. Remember we know exactly where a bus will stop and it does it all the time so we just have to figure out how to put an automatic charger at the stops. Buses have been using overhead wire for decades right? Well this is similar. It effectively has a big arm that just comes over the top of the bus while it’s stopped. So if it is in a rapid transit situation, then it probably works either in a tight loop or straight in then straight out of the city. It just stops at the end of the line each way for 10 minutes on an elongated stop. In this way, it is entirely possible a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of batteries are saved on each bus.

So Proterra sells different setups for different scenarios.

I was thinking it was Dallas or something that had a big loop and was basically going to make about every so many stops have one of these chargers. The bus stops for say 1 minute or whatever a normal stop might be and picks up 3 or 4 miles of range. In a closed loop it wouldn’t take very many chargers and presumably many buses are using a single charger.

How many buses did they purchase. $850,000 seems to be a bit high. In how many years will they get the ROI related to Diesel bus / NG bus.

Anyway, its a good start, hope the cost of e-bus goes down soon.

Ideally Tesla should get into the bus making.

I saw a recent article or post, that showed progressive price reductions on Protera Buses! These prices seem like not a current quote, but a quoted and probably a previous Bus Pricing point. As they are getting them just niw, and not ordering them just niw, this seems to fit.

I think it is now possible to get a quote for under $800,000, from Protera Bus.

I wonder why they are that expensive?

Even when you factor in all of the charging infrastructure it seems a bit high.

Yeh Don,
I just looked at BYD busses and their 40 footer is a K9. Wiki has the price in 2012 = 446K$.

BYD site has specs: range 161 mi,324 kwh, 80 kw charger.

Likely a Buy American/Buy California clause in the proposal. Protera is in Cali.

This will help clean the air coming from Sacramento.

‘Bus’ and ‘Rapid’ are mutually exclusive.

BRT cuts travel times by 1/3 (averaged).

“In how many years will they get the ROI related to Diesel bus / NG bus.”

12 years if just fuel costs are calculated based on average bus getting 6 mpg and running 100,000 a year and $4 a gallon Diesel.

Since the buses were paid for with grant money, the payback is immediate, the RTD would see $60,000 a year +/- payback a year.

There’s the no air pollution, no green house gas payback.

BYD is clearly superior to Proterra. This contract was given to Proterra because of: Corruption or Incompetence. The reason why its so expensive, you have to build ugly proterra chargers all over the place $$$$. BYD buses will run all day, with 4x the range of proterra, just plug them in at night, and they cost less money. Lazy government officials wasting your money without doing their due diligence.

Maybe they just preferred a US manufacturer. Given China’s rampant protectionism, I’m OK if nobody in the USA ever buys any Chinese transportation company’s products. I know I’d never buy a Chinese-made car because of it. (It’s not the protectionism itself that’s the problem, it’s that protectionism is not compatible with exports.)

I also don’t know how the two buses compare for performance and ride. For a BRT system, performance and ride are relatively more important than for regular bus services since the system needs to be quick to justify the prioritization.

+1 on buying American if the competition is a Chinese product. Plus it looks like Proterra prices are dropping fast. Better to see competition in a rapidly growing market.

Buses with the high duty cycles and a large number of miles are more about overall ROI. You might be able to get a BYD bus for less money but Mantaince cost could end up costing you more. You can buy a 20-year-old car allot cheaper than a brand new one but I highly doubt when you factor in gas cost and maintenance that 20-year-old car will be cheaper overall. I am sure that is true with buses as well.

* I know nothing about either company track record and BYD could be cheaper ROI overall just put out the possible options. Being cheaper up front doesn’t always mean cheaper to run something busses companies care about.

Way to go Proterra