St. Louis’ Metro Transit is preparing for the 2021 launch of its first battery-electric vehicles into MetroBus service thanks to the help of several partners including Ameren Missouri, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), New Flyer, GILLIG, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE).
The first two of a total of 14 battery-electric articulated buses have arrived in St. Louis. The 60-foot heavy duty buses are manufactured by New Flyer of America Inc. Four 40-foot battery electric buses made by GILLIG are scheduled to be delivered early next year. All 18 of the zero-emission electric buses are funded through a combination of FTA grants (80%) and local sales tax sources (20%).
“The introduction of these battery-electric buses into the MetroBus fleet next year represents our commitment to providing economically and environmentally sustainable mobility options as well as an excellent transit experience for our riders,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro Transit executive director. “We will be leaner and greener by introducing this battery electric bus technology, not just with the buses but also through the charging infrastructure and operating facilities.”
Since the articulated battery-electric buses do not have combustion engines or transmission systems, they will offer substantial savings for taxpayers over the life of the buses, which is about 15 years. Metro Transit estimates a savings of about $105,000 in diesel fuel and another $125,000 in maintenance costs over the life of the buses.
The 60-foot battery electric buses have 320 kilowatts of battery storage on each bus, which is enough power to support about 10 2,000-square-foot houses for an entire day. They will operate exclusively on the #70 Grand MetroBus route, which is Metro’s busiest route and carries about 10% of Metro’s customers on a daily basis.
The battery-electric bus program builds on the commitment of Ameren Missouri and Metro Transit to continually find innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The electric buses will operate out of the Brentwood MetroBus facility where they will be charged overnight each day. They will be recharged while in service at the Broadway & Taylor Transit Center in the City of St. Louis, allowing the buses to operate without interruption throughout an entire service day with the battery electric technology.
The four 40-foot GILLIG battery electric buses will offer similar cost savings and environmental benefits when they are deployed into service on the MetroBus system next year.
Metro Transit plans to start training MetroBus operators and mechanics on the new battery electric buses next month. The current MetroBus fleet of more than 400 clean-burning diesel buses operates in a 550-square mile service area as the main public transportation system in the St. Louis region.