US COMPANY AVTA ORDERS ELECTRIC BUSES TO REPLACE FULL DIESEL FLEET
Following the City of Lancaster, Calif.’s growing usage of solar energy — part of its plan to become one of the first “Net Zero Cities” in the world by achieving zero carbon emissions — the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) recently took a huge step in making that goal a reality. In February, the agency awarded a contract to BYD to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five-year period in a quest to become the first all-electric bus fleet in the nation.
Under the order from AVTA, BYD will build and deliver a mix of 40- and 60-foot low-floor buses as well as 45-foot commuter coaches, as funding permits, to replace its current fleet of diesel buses. The initial-funded order will consist of 13 60-foot articulated buses and 16 commuters, which will be built at BYD’s Lancaster, Calif., plant that is mere minutes away from AVTA’s facility.
AVTA’s path toward going electric began with a $1.9 million grant from Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to purchase two electric buses from BYD that would use inductive charging, which is currently being installed by Salt Lake .
Since receiving the first of those vehicles in the spring of 2014, AVTA has experienced positive results, including a 90% in-service rate and $1.20 cost-per-mile savings versus its older diesel buses.
The initial order includes 29 electric buses — 13 60-foot articulated and 16 commuter coaches — that will be delivered over the next 12 months, as well as the equipment for 11 200-kilovolt-amp (kVA) inductive chargers and the secondary pads that will be installed on the buses. Funding for the $39.4 million project comes from a significant $24.4 million Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant from the California Department of Transportation, with the rest coming through Federal 5307 funding and local match.
As part of its initial two-bus purchase, AVTA also worked with the Salt Lake City-based company WAVE Technologies Inc. to install two inductive charging systems.
Charging vehicles wirelessly reduces the required on-board battery size and weight, extends vehicle range and increases battery life by increasing the time the battery operates in a favourable charge level. A challenge the AVTA faces, will be building the infrastructure to be able to charge up to 85 electric buses.