Charlotte City Council approves electric bus pilot

6th May 2021 Christopher Carey

The US city of Charlotte, NC has approved an electric bus pilot as part of a public-private partnership between the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and eTransEnergy.

The scheme will test 18 battery electric bus (BEB) vehicles across the greater metropolitan Charlotte area over 12-18 months, and is supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.

In June 2018, the city launched its Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) which aims to have all city fleets and facilities fuelled by 100 percent zero-carbon sources by 2030, and for Charlotte to become a low-carbon city by 2050.

“Since 2018, the City of Charlotte has been working to achieve the vision of a low carbon Charlotte set forth in the SEAP,” said City of Charlotte Chief Sustainability Officer Sarah Hazel.

“Though 2020 brought incredible challenges on many fronts, it also highlighted the importance of this work, which is why it is so exciting to take this collaborative step towards reaching the ambitious goals we set for ourselves and our community.”

Assess performance

The city says the pilot will allow CATS to collect data and assess vehicle performance while operating across the transit system in preparation for future phases.

CATS is expected to receive the battery-electric vehicles by the end of 2021, with operations set to begin in early 2022.

The city and eTransEnergy submitted a joint grant application to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and were awarded a US$3.72 million Low or No (LoNo) Emissions Grant Award which will fund six of the 18 buses, with the other 12 funded through CATS’ Capital Investment Programme.

Catherine Kummer, Natural Resources Defense Council Climate Advisor to Charlotte, said: “Charlotte is leading by example. The city’s commitment to a full fleet of electric buses while piloting all technologies available will ensure public transit riders across the region have access to a bus system that works for them and the businesses that depend on riders being able to travel with ease and cleaner air.”

Launched in 2018, the American Cities Climate Challenge provides resources and support to 25 of the largest US cities as they accelerate climate action, using a holistic approach that focuses on clean buildings and transportation.

The Climate Challenge plans to reduce emissions by 40 million metric tons by 2025 – the equivalent of taking 8.5 million cars off the road.

Image: John Osumi (Flickr)

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