SEPTA has been awarded a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Program (Low-No) grant for the purchase of 10 new electric buses. SEPTA and bus manufacturer New Flyer of America partnered on the application, and the $1.5 million grant represents the differential in price between diesel-electric hybrid buses and these battery-electric buses.
The new buses will be part of a pilot program evaluating the viability of battery-electric buses on SEPTA’s diverse service territory. The buses will operate out of SEPTA’s Midvale Bus Depot, and personnel will evaluate the performance and life-cycle costs of operating battery-electric buses on City Transit Division routes.
Authorized in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, the multi-year federal surface transportation authorization bill, funding for the Low-No Program was increased in the Fiscal Year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was approved by Congress in March.
“SEPTA is committed to operating safe, efficient and sustainable vehicles, and this grant bolsters SEPTA’s efforts to modernize its fleet,” said SEPTA Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “We are grateful to the Members of our Congressional Delegation for creating this program and supporting SEPTA’s grant application.”
SEPTA was previously awarded FTA Low-No funding for the purchase of 25 battery-electric buses, which are currently in production and testing. Deploying the 10 New Flyer Buses will allow SEPTA to operate and compare different battery-electric bus technologies, providing a cost-effective way to advance the implementation of battery-electric vehicles on the SEPTA service area.
SEPTA operates one of the greenest bus fleets in the nation. More than half of SEPTA’s current bus fleet is made up of diesel-electric hybrids. By 2021, hybrids will comprise approximately 95 percent of SEPTA’s bus fleet of approximately 1,400 vehicles.
“This year, SEPTA published its second generation Energy Action Plan, which extends SEPTA’s commitment to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “With the addition of these buses, SEPTA is proud to continue to be an industry leader in advancing cutting-edge technology that furthers our commitment to sustainability.”
To learn more about SEPTA’s Energy Action Plan, please visit https://planning.septa.org/sustainability/2018-energy-action-plan.pdf.