Florida State University Transitions To 100% Electric Bus Fleet

FEB 17 2019 BY MARK KANE 20

Florida State University is going all-electric with a fleet of 27 EV buses

Proterra announced that StarMetro, the city of Tallahassee’s public transit system, placed its third order for electric buses.

The deal is for 22 35-foot Proterra Catalyst FC (fast charge, short range) buses for Florida State University (FSU), which already has 5 electric buses.

The buses will be delivered in two steps – initial deployment of 15 buses is scheduled for mid-2019, while the remaining 7 buses are to be deployed in 2021. Once deliveries are completed, FSU will complete transitions to 100% zero-emission university bus fleet.

According to the press release, electrification will bring more than $10 million in savings on fuel and maintenance.

“FSU is one of the first universities in the nation to decommission its entire fossil-fuel powered fleet and upgrade it to a 100 percent battery-electric fleet, joining cities across North America in the trend to cleaner, higher-performing electric transit buses.

The procurement will also set a national precedent with FSU being one of the first universities in the nation to go all-electric, and StarMetro will continue to lead the Sunshine State in electric bus adoption.”

“The new 35-foot Proterra Catalyst FC buses will serve FSU’s Seminole Express Bus Service and provide campus transportation for faculty, staff, students and visitors, totaling an average ridership of 847,000 each year. Operations are expected to begin mid-2019 with an initial deployment of 15 buses, with the remaining seven buses expected to deploy in 2021. This procurement also supports the goals defined in Florida State University’s strategic plan to deepen its commitment to continuous innovation, invest strategically and incorporate sustainable living practices into all FSU activities. With 22 Catalyst buses, Florida State University will displace more than 2,820,000 gallons of diesel over the vehicles’ 12-year lifespan and eliminate over 5,000,000 pounds of carbon emissions annually. The new electric buses will also provide fuel and maintenance cost savings of more than $10 million.

For universities and colleges, the trajectory towards sustainable transportation models is not only fueled by widespread student interest in environmentally friendly practices, but also because “going green” can provide long-term cost savings. As the third largest university in Florida, FSU will serve as a leading example for other colleges across the country that want to prioritize zero-emission campus transportation for the next generation. Proterra has also sold its Catalyst buses to the University of Montana, Duke University and Alabama A&M University.”

Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra said:

“As university populations grow across the United States, more campus transportation operators are taking the long-view and looking for sustainable ways to increase mobility while reducing costs and their carbon footprint. Helping universities and the next-generation of leaders experience zero-emission transit is intrinsic to our vision.”

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20 Comments on "Florida State University Transitions To 100% Electric Bus Fleet"

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Great news!

Good Job FSU

This can’t happen too soon for me.

Very many universities I know are even more environmental friendly: They don’t have busses driving around on their campus because a) it isn’t incredible big so you can simply walk or use your bicycle or b) people can simply use the public transportation system of that city which makes things more efficient. And very often there’re also all-electric vehicles driving around on the streets as part of the public transportation for decades now.
BTW: Why aren’t new electric trams a news?!


Do Not Read Between The Lines

It has tens of thousands of students, two campuses a mile apart and the bus services also take students to neighboring areas. And before you say anything about cycling, it can be really freaking hot and humid, and is subject to frequent heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Most students at FSU don’t use the busses to get across campus. Our campus is small, and it’s only about a 15-20 minute walk from one corner to the far opposite corner. However, lots of students who life off-campus rely on the busses to get to and from campus, and to our engineering campus about 1.5 miles south of main campus. This means they don’t need to use their individual cars. And as another user already said, biking isn’t always viable in Tallahassee. Although the downtown and campus areas have gotten A LOT more bike friendly in the last few years, there is still the near 100 degree heat and daily afternoon torrential downpour of rain to deal with from about June through September.

Additionally, the campus bus system here at FSU is run by the City of Tallahassee’s StarMetro public transit authority. As such, there is no overlap between city bus routes and FSU bus routes, so there are no inefficiencies resulting from two separate bus systems.

Florida International University (FIU) needs the same buses for commuting between its 2 campuses in Miami.

Well it’s good to see FSU adding these buses.
The utility is also adding 30 million solar panels by 2030.
However the utility is still fighting consumers on net metering.
Installing solar panels on roofs and battery storage should be a choice.

I’m pretty sure you can get solar panels on your house with a battery here in Tallahassee. The trouble is that 1) that’s very expensive and lots of residents could never afford the initial outlay of cash required to do it and 2) Our city is famous for having tons of trees, which makes collecting enough solar energy really difficult for a lot of residents.

This is my university!! GO NOLES!! 🍢🍢🍢

Go, fleets, go!!!

They expect a 12 years lifespan fo these buses. Real buses are usually kept 16 years by the first operator before being scrapped or sold as second hand buses to other operators which can keep them many years more. 12 years is barely 75% of the expected lifespan of a bus today. Talk about being “environment-friendly” by buying crappy buses which need to be replaced sooner. That’s planned obsolescence. By the way, I’m just waiting for the EV fanboys who keep saying “electric vehicles are more durable because they have less moving parts and are inherently more reliable” or “My electric car can last 100 years”

Clueless statement, how about actually learning about what you are talking about:

“In general, most American transit systems expect their buses to have a useful life of 12 years and 250,000 miles. This time frame is due to the fact that, after their buses have been around for 12 years, they are eligible to receive replacement bus funding from the federal government. After twelve years, the “used up” buses are auctioned off for as little as $2,500 and frequently used for many more years by private operators.”


PS No one is saying these electric buses will stop working in 12 years, they are simply saying they expect to use these buses same as any average bus, 12 years. Then they will probably sell them and get new buses, just like they have always been doing.

why is the federal government giving taxpayer money for this? Get the government out and let the bus operators pay for their own buses.

Because most US public transit systems are owned by the government in the first place?

A portion of Federal Fuel Tax goes to other things besides roads like rail, airports, and public transit.
The problem is when the oil industry fracks oil and in the process flares off huge amounts of natural gas that they then don’t have to pay taxes on.
The amount they flare off in the Permian Basin is above the legal requirements of the State and Federal Government but while Pruitt was the EPA head he gave exemptions and the Texas board also did.
The amount of natural gas flared off annually now in the Permian basin is about as much as what is used in Montana or Massachusetts.
If people wonder why the amount of CO2 is not going down even though more renewable energy is being used look at the flaring of natural gas and the amount of methane being released in the environment.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Because that’s what it does. Bus funding is provided from Federal fuel taxes to reduce car trips.

I think electric buses are great. I am having trouble figuring out how 22 Electric Buses would use 2,820,000 gallons of fuel over a 12 year expected service time.
That would be close to 30 gallons of fuel a day per bus 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 12 years.
I may have done simple arthmitc wrong but checked several times.

Average diesel bus gets 2.75 miles per gallon. So if they travel 11 miles per day, they will use up 30 gallons of fuel per day.

At 2.75 mpg, 30 gallons gets you 82 miles which sounds about right.