City paves way for electric bus pilot program

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte will begin shifting its bus fleet to electric-powered vehicles starting next year after City Council approved a pilot program Monday.

[Electric buses for Charlotte? CATS, Duke Energy eye pilot program]

The plan, endorsed by council in a 10-1 vote, calls for the city manager to negotiate agreements with a subsidiary of locally based Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) for electric buses, charging infrastructure and other equipment. Duke’s electric vehicle subsidiary, eTransEnergy, will work with the city on the conversion plan.

An initial phase next year will start with Charlotte Area Transit System — known as CATS — acquiring 18 electric buses. Transit CEO John Lewis told council on Monday that CATS wants to test electric buses from the three leading manufacturers to determine which ones perform best before committing to the full conversion of the city’s 300-vehicle bus fleet.

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