Capital Metro is about to buy some electric buses. For the first time ever.
In April, Cap Metro’s board of directors approved a contract to buy up to 10 electric buses, with plans to put them on the streets by the end of this year.
And that’s not all.
On Earth Day, Cap Metro started work on its new smart charging facility in north Austin. Once complete (in 2020), the facility will be able to house and charge 214 electric buses, about half of the city’s current fleet.
It’s all part of a plan to completely electrify Austin’s public transportation system, helping to reduce carbon emissions and improve local air quality.
So how much will it cost?
Research from the Texas Public Interest Research Group (or TexPIRG) shows that over the lifetime of an electric bus, Cap Metro can save about $200,000, compared to a diesel one. That’s because electric buses have about 90 percent fewer moving parts than a traditional combustion engine, which reduces maintenance costs. According to TexPIRG, the cost of charging an electric bus is also cheaper than the cost of diesel.
“This is another example of how investing in electric, investing in the future of energy, of transportation is the right investment,” said Bay Scoggin (director of TexPIRG) in an interview with AEN. “So, it’s pretty clear to me that we don’t have to choose between economic growth and protecting the environment.”
So how do we stack up against other cities?
For Bay, Cap Metro’s decision to build such a large charging facility sets Austin apart from other cities in the US that are also considering a transition to electric.
“I think Austin is one of the leaders,” Bay said. “…For the city and the transit authority to be making this level of investment really shows a commitment. And I think it’s safe to say that we’re, if not right in front, one of the top few cities in the nation.”
Want to learn more? You can watch our entire video interview with Bay below.