Capital City to purchase first all-electric buses to test reliability

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka Metro will buy six new buses, three of which will be all-electric to test their reliability in the Capital City.

Moving toward the future, on Monday, July 18, Topeka Metro says its Board of Directors approved the purchase of six new heavy-duty buses. Three of those will have traditional diesel drive systems while the other three will be the Capital City’s first completely electric buses.

Topeka Metro said the acquisition of the buses will signal the beginning of a pilot project to test the new technology in real operating conditions. It said the pilot period is a 3-year effort to test various scenarios related to weather, passenger loads and states of battery charge to better understand how electric buses could possibly be used by the city.

According to Topeka Metro, the electric buses are manufactured by Proterra Operating Company, Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., costing about $3.5 million. A portion of that - $1.7 million - will be funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low and No Emissions program.

The buses are expected to be delivered within the next 12 - 18 months.

Topeka Metro indicated that the three diesel buses will cost another $1.7 million, $1.4 of which will be funded by another grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program. These buses are expected to be delivered within the same time frame as the electric buses.

The six new buses will mark the end for some of the city’s oldest buses which have been in service for about 12 years. Over the next few years, Topeka Metro said it will work to transition the current fleet to evolve into a more efficient and effective service.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to bring a new type of bus to Topeka, featuring a cleaner and quieter ride that benefits our riders, and broader community,” said Bob Nugent, Metro’s General Manager. “These new buses will allow us to test innovative technologies and features that can hopefully be expanded upon in the future as we seek to diversify our services.”

For more information about Topeka Metro, click HERE.

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