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Today, Capital Metro announced its plan to build a new, first of its kind, electric bus charging facility. The new facility, stationed off Burnet at the transit agencies’ northern depot, will be capable of charging over 200 buses, roughly half of the current size of the fleet.
Advocates like the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) and the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance (TxETRA) applauded the move.
“What an exciting Earth Day announcement,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director. “Investing in infrastructure at this scale shows the deep commitment that Cap Metro has for a sustainable transportation future. Cleaner, healthier, and money-saving, electric buses are a win-win-win for the transit agency and everyone in the Austin metro area.”
Capital Metro will also consider a proposal to buy electric buses today for the first time in its history. The new buses, manufactured by Proterra, will be the first of their ilk to grace the streets of Austin.
“Electric buses have zero emissions, no public health concerns, and save the transit authority money in the long term, leading to better public transit service. Electric buses are available now, and they are the way of the future. TexPIRG applauds Cap Metro, Councilmember Kitchen, and Chairman Randy Clarke for their leadership on this issue,” Scoggin concluded.
Research from TexPIRG shows that over the lifetime of the electric bus, CapMetro can save roughly $200,000 per electric bus compared to a diesel one. An electric bus has 90% fewer moving pieces than a traditional combustion engine, making it far less likely to need service or parts replacement. Further, the cost of charging an electric bus is lower than the price of diesel.
Cities across the nation have noticed the benefits of electric buses on air quality, public health, and transit agency budgets and have started to make the change. Los Angeles, for example, has committed to transition 100% of its fleet to electric by the year 2030.
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