TriMet awarded $3.4 million federal grant to buy its first electric buses

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FTA grant will bring four battery-electric buses to TriMet’s fleet

TriMet awarded $3.4 million to purchase four electric buses

TriMet awarded $3.4 million to purchase four electric buses

Thanks to a $3.4 million federal grant, TriMet will purchase four battery-electric buses as part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low and No Emission Vehicle Deployment program.

“Climate change is an enormous threat, and it is already beginning to impact our communities here in Oregon. As we aim for a carbon-free future, electric vehicles – including buses – will be a huge part of that transition,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “I was pleased to help TriMet secure the federal funding to add these cleaner electric and low emission buses to their fleet.”

TriMet will purchase four New Flyer XE40 Xcelsior 40-foot-long battery-electric buses along with depot and on-route charging infrastructure. The federal grant covers all of the costs to buy the buses and design and install the infrastructure.

“This is a terrific opportunity to bring the next generation of environmentally-friendly vehicles to TriMet,” said Neil McFarlane, TriMet general manager. “We’re looking forward to testing these vehicles to see how they perform, and if it makes sense to add more of these electric buses to our fleet.”

These buses reduce emissions and greenhouse gases, and are also quieter. They are expected to be more reliable, and have the potential to offer extensive lifecycle cost savings from reduced maintenance and fuel costs.

The new buses are expected to be operational in 2018. The buses would be deployed on a test basis on routes that match their charging requirements to determine whether further expansion of the electric fleet is cost-effective and meets customer service requirements.

Over the long term, TriMet expects that the transit bus industry will ultimately transition away from conventional diesel engine propulsion to battery-electric propulsion.  As industry experience and utilization of all-electric buses increases, TriMet expects that all-electric bus offerings will strengthen and diversify, performance and reliability will improve, and costs will continue to decline.