Battery Electric Buses Plug Into The High Desert

HESPERIA, Calif – Victor Valley Transit Authority unveiled its first zero-emission electric buses during a ceremony last week. For years, the VVTA fleet has been powered by clean compressed natural gas, but California Air Resources Board regulations are requiring transit agencies to shift to electric buses. During the ceremony, VVTA Executive Director Kevin Kane noted these buses are the first battery electric transit buses for County of San Bernardino.

Victor Valley Transit Authority now introduces the first public transit Battery Electric Buses (BEBs) to go into regular service in San Bernardino County. According to VVTA, these seven (7) are the first of many zero emission buses planned. VVTA’s Board’s is committed to switching over to a Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) fleet within next several years as zero emission bus technology evolves said Kevin Kane, VVTA CEO.

These comfortable and quiet 40’ Xcelsior buses, manufactured by New Flyer in St. Cloud MN. are fueled with electric power supplied by SCE using state-of-the-art ChargePoint CP-250 chargers.

VVTA estimates the electric buses will have a maximum range of 160 miles. But VVTA staff is investigating the possibility of introducing hydrogen powered buses which will provide a range of approximately 275 to 300 miles.

Battery electric buses are 1 1/2 times as expensive as a standard bus. But VVTA was able to secure vouchers that saved taxpayers $152,000 for each of the seven electric buses. Southern California Edison (SCE) installed all the needed infrastructure to bring power to charging stations, saving VVTA approximately $1.4 million.

Hesperia Mayor and VVTA Chair, Larry Bird, commented “The VVTA Board is always looking for ways to improve the quality of life here in the High Desert. We are particularly pleased with the positive impact on air quality these buses bring. Zero tailpipe emissions mean cleaner air for everyone”.

Passengers can also expect an enhanced experience. These electric buses will feature passenger Wi-Fi to keep riders connected no matter where the bus takes them. Additionally, these buses include a touch pass card and mobile phone fare payment system, GPS, an eight (8) camera safety video surveillance system. Additionally, the New Flyer buses feature a redesigned wheelchair ramp, audio announcements and upgraded signage for VVTA’s passengers who require extra assistance.

“Deploying battery electric buses in VVTA’s operating environment is a challenge” says VVTA’s Operations Director, Simon Herrera. “With so many routes currently operating in excess of 300 miles per day, staff has to plan carefully as to which routes these buses can be assigned.” Ron Zirges, VVTA Director of Fleet and Facilities, is closely tracking all the variables that go into identifying the optimum range for these vehicles. As our studies progress, VVTA will likely explore hydrogen fueled buses because they can provide an extended range.

Contact: Craig Barnes: cbarnes@vvta.org / 760-995-3570

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