Calif.-based Long Beach Transit (LBT) released three battery-electric buses into regular service on its complimentary, downtown shuttle route, Passport at the end of March 2017. The zero-emission buses are a first for Long Beach and a milestone for the transit agency.
LBT’s new battery-electric buses, manufactured by BYD, are designed to travel approximately 150 miles on a full charge. The buses will be charged overnight at LBT headquarters much like compressed natural gas (CNG) buses are fueled when they return to the headquarters after their service day.
"When more of the buses are released into service, the Passport [service] will become 100 percent battery-electric and LBT will deploy some of the buses on other routes throughout our service area,” said Kenneth McDonald, LBT CEO.
LBT will be releasing the next seven battery-electric buses as each becomes cleared for service and as the charging infrastructure to support them is complete.
Long Beach Transit has a long history of using innovative technologies to promote clean air in its service area, according to the agency. When diesel buses were standard throughout the industry, LBT was an early adopter of particulate traps to prevent harmful matter from escaping from the exhaust. In the mid-2000s, the agency began to step away from diesel, and purchased gasoline-hybrid buses. In 2012, LBT purchased its first CNG buses.
Currently, the transit system has 10 battery-electric buses and intends to expand that fleet in the coming years. Also, LBT’s next purchases of CNG buses will boast a near-zero emission engine. By 2020, LBT will be 100 percent alternatively-fueled.