Metro buying 73 battery-fueled buses, wants makers to roll out longer ones

King County Metro is pushing builders to invent a 60-foot battery-powered bus, to haul extra individuals per car than most transit businesses do.

Mike Lindblom

King County Government Dow Constantine introduced a deal Tuesday to purchase seventy three zero-emission, battery-powered buses from California-based mostly Proterra, and his intention to purchase forty seven extra from Proterra or its rivals by 2020.

However can the business construct the articulated, 60-foot lengthy automobiles that carry nearly all of Metro’s four hundred,000-plus every day passengers, on RapidRide and suburban commute routes?

Metro’s letter of dedication to Proterra, dated Tuesday, requires single chamber forty-foot buses that Metro deploys for brief native routes.

“I problem the business to supply a 60-foot battery-powered bus that may meet our wants. When the business and producers produce that dependable longer coach at aggressive costs, we stand prepared to purchase it,” Constantine stated at a information convention within the Bellevue bus-upkeep base.

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Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra, said the company already knows how to make an articulated battery bus, simply by installing more battery packs than a standard model.

“It’s not a technical issue,” Popple said in an interview. “The 40-foot market is the largest market.” The 40-foot versions are prevalent in most transit agencies, and so far, the firm’s California clients haven’t asked for articulated buses, he said.

But the market suddenly changed Tuesday with Metro’s 120-bus order, the biggest venture into battery buses in North America. Metro is the nation’s seventh-busiest public bus agency.

Word of the bus purchase plan first surfaced Monday.

Metro says it will pay $55 million for 73 of the low-floor, 40-foot buses, plus $6 million for charging stations, with most of the cost federally funded.

The battery-operated buses are rechargeable, by 10-minute stops in a docking station, for 25-mile round trips. Last year Metro tested three Proterra buses refueling at Eastgate Transit Center for trips to downtown Bellevue, Overlake and Crossroads.

Constantine’s order will include a few vehicles that cover longer distances and charge overnight. But with dozens of vehicles subject to future bid competitions, the agency can embrace whichever company first develops an extended rechargeable bus.

Metro will continue to operate its wire-powered…

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