Iowa’s Des Moines Authority Regional Transit (DART) unveiled the first electric bus in the state while announcing a pilot project where, in the coming months, DART will begin testing seven electric buses and adding them into service.
The pilot project was made possible thanks to a public-private partnership with MidAmerican Energy who signed on to provide the local match for DART’s Low or No-Emission grant application with the Federal Transit Administration, resulting in DART receiving a $1.45 million grant.
“Today, DART and our region join other cities across the country who are piloting this new technology,” said DART CEO Elizabeth Presutti. “Not only are we excited to offer cleaner transportation to Greater Des Moines, we are excited about the potential for these electric buses to save DART money in operating and maintenance costs. This historical first for the state of Iowa and DART was put in motion by the support of MidAmerican and for that we will always be grateful.”
Electric bus manufacturer, Proterra, said the transition to battery-electric buses presents multiple benefits to Greater Des Moines. Manufactured in the U.S., Proterra battery-electric buses feature zero emissions, which saves approximately 230,000 pounds of greenhouse gases annually when replacing a diesel bus. The purpose-built electric buses further offer a quieter ride for reduced noise pollution, greater efficiency, and lower operating costs with fewer parts compared to combustion engine vehicles.
Central Iowa residents will begin to see DART’s electric buses on the road this fall as DART’s more than 100 drivers learn how to operate the vehicles. DART anticipates adding electric buses into service later this year. This part of the pilot program enables DART to assess if the vehicles are getting the 150 to 230 miles per single charge as expected and set up measures to track overall performance and long-term financial savings.