Capital Transit has unveiled this month the first battery-electric bus owned and operated by a public transit agency in Alaska. It entered service in Juneau on April 14, 2021.
The bus itself is a 40-foot long Proterra ZX5, the same that was selected also by START Bus in Wyoming. This model is available in three battery configurations: 225, 450 and 675 kWh, good for respectively 92-120, 163-232 and 221-329 miles of range.
"The new bus will be servicing the Mendenhall Express route, which travels via Glacier Highway between the Downtown Transit Center and the Mendenhall Mall, which is the location of Capital Transit’s future transfer site."
As usual, the funding for the electric bus came from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant Program.
CBJ intends to use external funds to gradually replace seven 2010 diesel buses, "that are at the end of their useful life".
It's quite an achievement to introduce electric buses in Alaska, where the transit agency has to deal with very low temperatures. We guess that the right battery size, DC fast chargers and a little bit of planning are already more than enough to start the electrification of even the most challenging places.
Hopefully, soon we will see more EVs in Alaska - both buses and cars/trucks.
Public Works and Engineering Director Katie Koester said:
“The City and Borough of Juneau is committed to bringing clean, safe, and reliable public transportation to its ridership and the community. Capital Transit drivers and mechanics have been retraining to operate and maintain the new 40-foot long bus and to learn the nuances of its integrated battery management system. We have eliminated oil changes.”