Officials including MetroLINK GM Jeff Nelson (center) celebrated the launch of the agency's five new Proterra buses.

Officials including MetroLINK GM Jeff Nelson (center) celebrated the launch of the agency's five new Proterra buses.

Moline, Ill.’s MetroLINK added five new Proterra battery-electric buses to their Metro fleet, bringing the total of battery-electric buses to eight.

In addition to the expansion of the battery-electric bus fleet, MetroLINK developed an innovative solution to deploy the latest depot charging equipment while maximizing safety and efficiently utilizing existing bus storage space. While most agencies wall-mount or pedestal-mount their chargers and distribute the dispensers and cords next to the electric buses, MetroLINK worked with a local engineering and electrical firm to design and install a ceiling mounted system. By finding an innovative way to mount its chargers, MetroLINK is able to reap the benefits of electric buses without having to change the layout of its bus depot, and it can continue to maximize space to install more chargers to support a larger electric bus fleet.

In 2002 MetroLINK began a clean air initiative with the introduction of clean-burning CNG buses. With 80% of the fleet currently running on CNG, the introduction of battery-electric buses is the next step in environmentally sustainable fleet technology. In addition to zero emissions, each battery-electric bus results in additional operational cost savings over the lifetime of the bus.

The electric buses offer a state of the art wheelchair securement system manufactured by Q’Straint, nine Apollo security cameras including all new 4K technology and a 360 degree camera system, and an electronic infotainment system manufactured by Luminator. Fueled with electricity provided by MidAmerican Energy, the buses have 30% fewer parts, with no liquid fuel or oil changes, thus reducing maintenance labor costs.

Future bus fleet replacements will include the replacement of nine CNG buses with battery-electric buses, CNG, or a combination.

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