Zero Emissions Bus Transition
MTS launched its first all-electric buses into service in December 2019 as part of a pilot program designed to help the agency test new technologies as it plans a transition to an all zero-emission bus fleet by 2040.
MTS’ early investment in zero-emission technology sets the agency up well for a full fleet transition over the next 20 years, or even sooner. MTS currently has six electric vehicles in its fleet, with an additional two buses scheduled for delivery in late 2020. Plans for an electric Rapid route, which will utilize 60-ft articulated buses, are also underway.
Pilot Program by the Numbers:
- Current range/day: 148 miles (this is adequate to serve about 50% of MTS’ current service routes)
- Committed to operate on 28 routes total throughout service territory through MTS bus divisions in East Village, East County, Kearny Mesa and South Bay
- 99% reliability
- Positive performance feedback from bus operators and passengers
On September 17, 2020, the MTS Board of Directors approved a draft plan to submit to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which will serve as the agency’s blueprint to get all vehicles in the fleet to zero-emissions. Some key components of that plan include:
- Emissions Reductions: Transition will cut the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 43% over the next 19 years (this includes CO, VOC, NOx, PM 2.5 and PM 10).
- 25% Early Adoption: MTS will roll back the planned purchase of five Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered buses in 2021 and purchase electric buses instead.
- Cost: The full transition is estimated to cost $851 million over the course of the 2040 timeline, including approximately $185 million to acquire land and build a new facility to accommodate additional electric buses needed to continue the current level of service.
- Disadvantaged Community (DAC) Priority: MTS will prioritize zero-emission bus implementation in DACs, which often experience the most negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental health.
- Overhead Gantry System: The agency will build one of the first-in-the-nation overhead gantry systems to automate charging, take advantage of off-peak and super-off-peak charging, and maximize space at its existing bus yards (which are already at capacity).
- Electric and Hydrogen: The agency is planning to utilize a mix of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies to meet service range needs.
- 2028: The last year a CNG-powered bus will be purchased by MTS.
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