By July of next year, public transportation users in the Wood River Valley, Idaho will be riding on Mountain Rides Transportation Authority’s (MRTA) new electric buses.
MRTA plans to electrify a portion of their bus fleet to cut overall emissions as they retire aging diesel buses currently in use.
For the first phase of the bus electrification project, MRTA will acquire and put in service four 35-foot battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE buses from New Flyer of America. The project will also entail the acquisition and installation of 480 volt, dual-port charging stations manufactured by ABB, in Mountain Rides’ Ketchum and Bellevue depots, as well as installing the infrastructure to support the chargers, including new service transformers.
Eventually, MRTA plans to have 10 buses and seven chargers in Bellevue and eight buses and six chargers in Ketchum.
To provide owner’s engineer services and design the new chargers and transformers, MRTA has hired Hailey-based POWER Engineers Inc. In addition to design, POWER will work with outside stakeholders such as electric utility Idaho Power, electric bus manufacturer New Flyer, the electrical installation contractor, local inspectors, and others to ensure that the electrical needs of MRTA are met and the project proceeds smoothly.
The buses will be paid for by Low-No Emissions grants from the Federal Transit Administration and by Volkswagen Mitigation Fund grant awards administered locally by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Mountain Rides plans to convert its entire fleet of diesel buses to battery-electric buses by 2027.