Pierce Transit to add two all-electric buses to fleet

Pierce Transit will use federal money to help buy two all-electric buses like the one shown here.
Pierce Transit will use federal money to help buy two all-electric buses like the one shown here. Courtesy

Pierce Transit has won a $2.55 million federal grant that will allow the agency to buy its first two all-electric, zero-emission buses.

The agency had applied for $6.3 million, which would have allowed it to purchase up to six all-electric buses and related equipment, but CEO Sue Dreier still hailed the award as a positive step in Pierce Transit’s effort to convert its fleet to a greener one.

“Pierce Transit began its commitment to clean energy 30 years ago when it began converting its fleet to (compressed natural gas),” Dreier said in a statement this week. “This new electric technology will help us build on our strong legacy of environmental stewardship while further diversifying our fleet.”

About 80 percent of the agency’s 140 buses run on compressed natural gas, with the rest operating on diesel. The new electric buses will allow Pierce Transit to phase out two of those diesel buses.

The agency intends to buy the new buses from a company called Proterra, a leader in electric-bus production.

Pierce Transit will buy the 40-foot Catalyst model, which can seat 40 passengers and run up to 62 miles between charges, Pierce Transit spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said. The Catalyst can recharge within 10 minutes, she said.

“The precise time line to get the new buses on the road will be determined once the agency enters the procurement process for the buses and related infrastructure,” Pierce Transit said in a news release announcing the awarding of the grant.

That could take a year or longer.

Money for the buses comes from the federal government’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program. Pierce Transit must match 20 percent of the award, which should not be a problem considering the agency’s reserve account.

Everett Transit also recently was awarded money from the so-called NoLo program and will purchase four electric buses, also from Proterra, according to a July 22 story published by The (Everett) Herald.

King County Metro also has committed to buying three 40-foot Proterra models, using federal grant money.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, @TNTAdam

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