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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Area Transit System wants to begin an electric bus pilot program as part of a proposed partnership with Duke Energy in time to have vehicles on the road by the start of 2022. On Monday, transit system CEO John Lewis briefed City Council on plans to convert to electric buses from diesel.

Lewis and CATS will bring a formal proposal for the pilot program to council for a vote on April 26.

Specific costs have yet to be fully determined. CATS earlier committed to buying six electric buses for $7.4 million, paying half that amount and using a federal grant for the rest.

Upon further study, the transit agency and Duke spinoff eTransEnergy now favor putting 18 electric buses in service for 12 to 18 months as part of CATS’ 300-bus fleet. Doing so would allow for extensive testing of various manufacturers’ buses in all seasons and on varied routes with regular passenger loads.

Buying another 12 buses at an average price of $900,000 would cost $10.8 million.

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