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City of Charlotte approves public-private partnership for electric bus pilot

This collaboration, which is supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, will kick off a 12- to 18-month programme to test 18 e-buses from three manufacturers.

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Charlotte has a community-wide goal to become a low carbon city by 2050
Charlotte has a community-wide goal to become a low carbon city by 2050

Charlotte City Council has voted to approve a pilot programme to run electric buses.

 

The public-private partnership between the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and eTransEnergy, a subsidiary/affiliate of Duke Energy, will test the performance of battery electric bus (BEB) vehicles across the greater metropolitan Charlotte area.

 

Cities Climate Challenge

 

This collaboration, which has been supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, will kick off a 12- to18-month pilot programme to test 18 BEB vehicles from three different manufacturers.

 

The programme supports the city’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) which strives to have city fleet and facilities fuelled by 100 per cent zero-carbon sources by 2030 and sets a community-wide goal for Charlotte to become a low carbon city by 2050.

 

“Since 2018, the City of Charlotte has been working to achieve the vision of a low carbon Charlotte set forth in the SEAP,” said City of Charlotte chief sustainability officer Sarah Hazel. “Though 2020 brought incredible challenges on many fronts, it also highlighted the importance of this work, which is why it is so exciting to take this collaborative step towards reaching the ambitious goals we set for ourselves and our community.”

 

The pilot will allow CATS to collect data and assess vehicle performance while operating across the transit system in preparation for future phases. CATS is expected to receive the battery-electric vehicles by the end of 2021. Operation of the pilot programme is anticipated to begin in early 2022.

“Our partnership with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte Area Transit System has initiated a foundational shift toward zero-emissions transportation”

“eTransEnergy will support CATS with workforce training, performance data, procurement, electrical service management and installation of battery-charging infrastructure at CATS bus facilities,” said CATS CEO John Lewis.

 

Together, the City and eTransEnergy submitted a grant application to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and was awarded a $3,723,712 Low or No (LoNo) Emissions Grant Award which will fund six of the 18 buses. The other 12 buses will be funded through CATS’ Capital Investment Programme.

 

“We are excited to have developed a blueprint for public-private partnership with CATS to first pilot, then move to full-scale transit fleet electrification. We look forward to working with CATS and other transit authorities around the country to help them transition to clean energy transportation options,” said Greg Fields, vice resident of eTransEnergy.

 

Resilient communities

 

After completion of the pilot programme, eTransEnergy will support the transition of CATS entire bus fleet with a selected BEB manufacturer.

 

“The goal of the American Cities Climate Challenge is to create more sustainable and resilient communities while unlocking the benefits of climate action. Our partnership with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte Area Transit System has initiated a foundational shift toward zero-emissions transportation and thus cleaner air for all the residents in the Charlotte region,” said Catherine Kummer, climate advisor with Natural Resources Defence Council to Charlotte as part of the American Cities Climate Challenge.”

 

She added: “Charlotte is leading by example. The City’s commitment to a full fleet of electric buses while piloting all technologies available will ensure public transit riders across the region have access to a bus system that works for them and the businesses that depend on riders being able to travel with ease and cleaner air.”

 

The Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge is an initiative that empowers 25 of the largest US cities to implement near-term climate goals and become primary drivers of progress towards meeting America’s pledge on climate.

 

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