MetroLink will expand its bus fleet next spring with two, new electric buses. This morning, the mass transit agency and Proterra bus company gave journalists a ride on a battery-powered bus.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Garrity says currently MetroLink has ten buses that run on diesel and 45 that run on compressed natural gas. The two electric buses won't be available for Quad Cities passengers to ride until next spring. "We're hoping we can go most of the day on one of our routes. About 150 miles a day is what we're looking at."
Two charging stations will be installed at MetroLink's Operations and Maintenance Center in Rock Island. Garrity says a federal grant is paying for 80% of the bill. The rest will come from state and local matching funds. "We are using FTA clean fuels money that was awarded to us in a competitive process. The total cost for both buses will be about $1.7 million."
Michael Hennessy, Proterra Regional Sales Director, says the buses are powered by eight batteries mounted underneath."A typical transit bus -- diesel, diesel-electric or CNG -- will get somewhere between 3 1/2 and 5 mpg, depending on what section of the country you're in, what you're doing with it, and what have you. In our Altoona testing, which is a third-party, federally regulated test, we got 22 1/2 mpg equivalent."
The electric buses cost around $800,000 each, and should be delivered next spring.