- St. Louis announced it will add two electric buses to its Metro Transit public transportation system in late 2020. The buses will be funded by a $1.45 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), won through a partnership between Metro Transit and electric company Ameren Missouri, bus manufacturer Gillig and the Center for Transportation and the Environment.
- Metro Transit will buy two extended-range electric buses and two battery chargers from Gillig with the grant money. Ameren Missouri will pay around $1 million to add an innovative dual-fed power supply to the city’s Brentwood MetroBus facility, where the buses will be housed.
- "This type of technology could be a game changer — it’s good for the environment and helps our customers save money. It’s about our future and taking advantage of emerging technologies that will benefit our region," Dan Laurent, Director of Energy Services with Ameren Missouri, said in a statement.
And while this latest plan in St. Louis will only add two buses, transportation officials indicated they are already looking to invest in more. "St Louis is taking a significant first step supporting a healthier, cleaner and quieter environment by choosing to deploy the latest in battery electric bus technology," Dan Raudebaugh, executive director of the Center for Transportation and the Environment, said in a statement.
This investment comes weeks after an announcement that Downtown STL, the city's downtown business association, is funding a microtransit pilot using zero emissions electric vehicles. While the pilot will be over by the time the buses roll out, perhaps it will be an integrated, permanent system in the city by then. And the investment in electric buses and technology will save the city money in the long-term, given the reduced costs for fuel, parts, labor and maintenance.
One of the major concerns around the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) is the lack of infrastrucutre, such as charging stations, so the investment in a dedicated charging facility will also stand St. Louis in good stead as it expands its fleet of electric buses in the future.