Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) and Greater Portland METRO announced the addition of four battery-electric Proterra Zx5 buses to their fleets.
The first electric buses to provide fixed-route public transit in Maine in over 20 years will begin service this week.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills and US Sen. Angus King took part in the ribbon-cutting event, held at Ocean Gateway Visitor's Center in Portland. METRO Board Vice Chair, Westbrook Mayor Mike Foley, and Portland Mayor Kate Snyder also provided remarks, and Sarah Lawrence provided remarks on behalf of US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
The bus launch event was hosted by Chad Heid, Executive Director of Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit, and Greg Jordan, Executive Director of Greater Portland METRO.
"These buses aren't just cutting emissions. They're also cutting costs. These battery-electric vehicles will cost us 60% to 80% less to power than diesel fuel buses, reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels. They will also improve the quality of public transportation for customers seeking a quieter ride," said Mills.
Advances in electric bus technology and a decline in battery costs over recent years have made electric buses an increasingly viable option for transit agencies. They improve the air quality in our communities by eliminating diesel exhaust emissions, particulate pollution, and pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.
"Introducing electric buses to our city and region is an important step toward meeting the climate goals of the Portland-South Portland One Climate Future plan," said Portland Mayor Kate Snyder. "With 54% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector, we also need to keep developing our cities so that more people can get around by walking, biking and using public transit."
The 35-foot buses were paid for using federal and state funding and cost approximately $900,000 each. Proterra estimates the bus has a range of 240 miles on a single charge. BSOOB Transit and METRO have charging stations at their facilities. The buses operate at up to 25.1 miles per gallon-equivalent (MPG). The buses were manufactured at Proterra's facility in Greenville, S.C.