Minn.-based Metro Transit's next rapid bus line will bring battery-electric buses to the Twin Cities for the first time.

At least six of the 60-foot articulated buses that will be used on the C Line will be fully-propelled by rechargeable batteries, eliminating tailpipe emissions. The Xcelsior® battery-electric 60-foot, heavy-duty transit buses will be manufactured and delivered by St. Cloud, Minn.-based New Flyer of America. The buses will be among the first 60-foot battery-electric articulated buses put into service in the U.S.

“Bringing battery-electric buses to the Twin Cities will reduce fossil fuel emissions that hurt our health and environment, and support good paying manufacturing jobs at New Flyer’s St. Cloud facility,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I thank our partners at the Federal Transit Administration for this grant funding, and encourage Minnesotans to catch a ride on the C Line starting in 2019.”

Up to 14 buses will be dedicated to C Line service, which will largely replace Route 19 service between downtown Minneapolis and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center. The C Line is scheduled to open in 2019.

In addition to the new buses, the C Line will bring enhanced stations and faster, more frequent service. Like the A Line, travel times will improve as C Line buses make fewer stops, customers pay their fares before boarding, and transit priority is given at select intersections.

The ability to include battery-electric buses in the C Line project comes in part from a recently-announced $1.75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The grant will pay for a portion of the buses and charging technology to be installed at Metro Transit’s Heywood Garage and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center. With a full charge, the buses can operate for up to 150 miles.

Federal funding will also go toward training Metro Transit Mechanic Technicians on the new technology.

“We are thrilled to partner with Metro Transit in building the presence of battery-electric buses in the Twin Cities,” said Wayne Joseph, President of New Flyer of America. “Our zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior buses not only lend positive environmental impact for communities, but also feature American innovation and manufacturing in motion. We’re proud to be part of the solution in advancing sustainable transit.”

Metro Transit’s $1.75 million grant was among $55 million in funding for low- or no-emission vehicle projects announced by the FTA. Metro Transit’s award was among the largest of the 51 projects that received grant funding.