More Details Released About Electric Buses Coming To DDOT, SMART

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One of the biggest complaints about riding a bus is noise. The loud diesel engine and the wobbly, hot rumble in the back seat will be a thing of the past for six of metro Detroit’s new buses.

Six electric buses are hitting the streets of Metro Detroit and now we have more details.

Two of the buses will be going to the city of Detroit (DDOT). They’re getting two 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 Max buses, two Proterra 125 kW plug-in chargers and one 500 kW overhead fast-charge system.

SMART, the suburban bus system, will receive four 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 buses with DuoPower drivetrains, four Proterra 125 kW plug-in chargers and one 500 kW overhead fast-charge system.

According to the ProTerra website specs for the models ordered, the DDOT buses will have a range between 213-290 miles depending on operating conditions and the SMART’s can go 232-328 on a single full charge thanks to the upgraded drivetrain.

“Electric buses are a great addition to our fleet and sustainability initiatives that will continue to improve the transit experience for our communities,” said Angelica Jones, Interim Director of DDOT in a release. “It is a great example between the public, private sector and DTE to bring clean and efficient transportation to metro Detroit.”

DTE Energy will be installing the charging infrastructure.

Two things about these buses. First, the fuel economy. Buses use a lot of gasoline, and that’s expensive. Press materials say that the new buses can get up to an equivalent of 25 miles per gallon, where currently a city bus gets less than 3 miles per gallon of gas.

Secondly, maintenance. Electric vehicles have far fewer parts and things that can go wrong, so that should significantly lower ongoing maintenance costs.

The combined order from the two Detroit area systems is Proterra’s 100th customer, according to the company. ProTerra has delivered more than 800 buses.

The buses are funded through a $2.6 million Federal grant for no emission bus technology.

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