The 60-foot Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus is the first of 10 for the region's City Line Bus Rapid Transit project, which is planned to launch in 2022. - STA

The 60-foot Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus is the first of 10 for the region's City Line Bus Rapid Transit project, which is planned to launch in 2022.

STA

The Spokane Transit Authority (STA) recently unveiled its first zero-emission battery-electric bus (BEB): a 60-foot, 5-door Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus from New Flyer.

The electric bus, which is the first of 10 for the agency’s City Line, features two axles powered by electric motors for enhanced performance, and a 320 kilowatt-hour energy storage system that enables about 120 miles of range before requiring recharge. The bus arrived in Spokane in late December and has since undergone acceptance testing, and enabled further agency planning to ensure a successful City Line launch in 2022.

The City Line, for which stations and roadway improvements are currently under construction, will combine transit service frequency and efficiency into a modern streetcar-like experience along the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route between Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College via downtown Spokane and the University District, including Gonzaga University.

“More than a decade of community planning and hard work have paved the way for this exciting vehicle introduction, both in terms of the upcoming City Line service and the even bigger vision of electrifying STA’s fleet,” said Pam Haley, STA’s board chair and City of Spokane Valley council member. “With additional state and federal funding support to help offset higher capital costs, STA will be able to advance fleet electrification at a faster pace, which is an important environmental priority.”

In addition to the 10 Xcelsior CHARGE BEB’s for the City Line, STA is planning to implement eight 40-foot BEB’s for Route 4 operating about 12 miles between the South Hill’s Moran Station Park & Ride and the 5-Mile Park & Ride in north Spokane. All of STA’s BEB’s are expected to be in service by 2023.

STA is also considering state and federal funding strategies that would accelerate fleet electrification without consuming the increased cost of BEB’s from its current bus replacement fund, and would aid in funding additional electric charging infrastructure. With the additional infrastructure, STA would have the capacity in its Boone Northwest Garage, constructed to accommodate STA’s initial transition to battery electric technology, for 20 more BEB’s, or 38 total.

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