Rhode Island received $14.4 million in VW funding and chose to invest the bulk of it in clean transit, with the intent to replace approximately 20 retiring diesel buses with new, all-electric zero-emission vehicles. This deployment marks the first step toward achieving this goal.
The milestone represents one of the first deployments to use funding from the Volkswagen AG (VW) diesel emissions settlement. The lease program provides RIPTA with an opportunity to evaluate the combined economic, environmental and performance benefits of deploying all-electric buses. The buses will be tested extensively and staff will be trained in the maintenance and charging of the vehicles before they are put in service.
This deployment reinforces RIPTA’s commitment to reducing emissions after nearly a decade of sustainable transit initiatives. In 2010, RIPTA began making substantial investments in cleaner vehicles, efficient facilities, green building initiatives and service improvements. Rhode Island currently has 73 hybrid buses and with the addition of zero-emission buses, low- and zero-emission vehicles will comprise approximately 36% of the state's bus fleet. Proterra’s buses will replace three aging diesel buses on current RIPTA transit routes, with a focus on serving communities that suffer from poor air quality and high asthma rates.
“We believe Rhode Island is one of the first states to use VW settlement funds to deploy battery-electric buses and has set an example for other states by committing the majority of its funds to zero-emission transit,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple.