Electric transit bus demonstration project

Efficiency Vermont analyzed the costs and fuel use resulting from the deployment of an electric public-transit vehicle to determine the impact of this technology in Vermont.

Efficiency Vermont worked with a transit-vehicle manufacturer to deploy an electric model through a local transit authority for seven weeks. Data was collected on operating costs, electricity use, fossil fuel displacement, energy efficiency gains (expressed in Btu) and cost savings. Qualitative data was also collected from drivers and mechanics so Efficiency Vermont could evaluate their perceptions and experience.

The primary learning objectives were met during this research project. Highlights included identifying variables that impact vehicle efficiency that can inform a strategy for incorporating electric transit buses into an energy efficiency framework. In addition, transit operators’ positive experience with this new technology was documented, and concerns about cold weather performance were addressed. An understanding of the barriers to electric transit bus adoption, as well as the partnerships needed to advance the technology, were also observed and documented. Key outcomes of the project included the relative importance of the operating environment on the efficiency of the vehicle, validation that the technology can operate well in Vermont weather conditions, and the importance of combining resources and technical assistance from both the transportation and energy sectors that are required to make such a collaboration possible.

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