Bus

N.Y. MTA to pilot electric bus program in December 2017

Posted on April 27, 2017

Rendering of New Flyer electric bus
Rendering of New Flyer electric bus
The New York MTA is beginning an electric bus pilot program that will launch with a total of 10 buses in December 2017. As part of the new pilot, the MTA has secured board approval to lease the first five electric buses. A lease for an additional five buses will be presented to the MTA Board later this year.

The pilot program will test the performance of these electric buses in New York City and evaluate the results to determine future orders of all-electric buses.

The pilot program is intended to provide the MTA and manufacturers of electric buses with actionable data on what works best in New York’s metropolitan environment. The MTA will use the results from the pilot to refine and develop bus specifications for future electric bus procurements to ensure buses are fully able to meet the rigors of operating in New York City. As a result, the initial lease and evaluation of buses does not eliminate any other builders from future competitive procurements.

Selecting Manufacturers & Leasing Electric Buses
After a study of best practices from systems across the U.S. and around the world, the MTA has identified two vendors to manufacture a total of 10 electric buses, which will be leased for test and evaluation over a period of three years in the New York City operating environment. The first of those vendors, Proterra, was selected to provide overnight charging electric buses, which will be operated on routes including the B39 and B32 in Brooklyn.

The lease of an additional five buses from a second vendor, New Flyer, with en-route opportunity charging, will be presented to the board later this year. The New Flyer buses will operate on the M42 bus route in Manhattan. These contracts are subject to MTA Board approval as well as review and approval by the Office of the New York State Comptroller.  

Rendering of Proterra electric bus
Rendering of Proterra electric bus

Charging Stations
The $4 million, three-year lease for the Proterra buses includes six depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, Queens, where the buses will be recharged overnight. The first leg of the pilot will also include one "en-route" charging station, which will be located at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn, and be used to extend the range of the buses by quickly recharging without having to return to the depot. The plaza is the hub for nine routes in Brooklyn. These routes could also be used to evaluate all-electric bus service over the course of the three-year pilot.

Best Practices Review
In preparation for the study the MTA conducted a review of global best practices for electric buses. The process included a review of reports from systems in Europe, Asia, and South America; involvement in industry groups such as the Electric Power Research Institute, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the American Public Transportation Association; in-person visits and consultations with transportation authorities in London, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Montreal; and testing and inspections of buses from a variety of suppliers.

Future Electric Bus Procurements
The pilot program is intended to provide the MTA and manufacturers of electric buses with actionable data on what works best in New York’s metropolitan environment. The MTA will use the results from the pilot to refine and develop bus specifications for future electric bus procurements to ensure buses are fully able to meet the rigors of operating in New York City. As a result, the initial lease and evaluation of buses does not eliminate any other builders from future competitive procurements.


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