The first of 18 electric buses that Big Blue Bus will acquire by 2021 was celebrated by a press event and ribbon cutting this past Wednesday, August 21,2019, at the city’s bus facility on Colorado and 6th Street. The state-of-the-art vehicle then went into service on BBB route 1 that afternoon.
These battery electric buses are the key to the transit system meeting its goal of being a zero-emission fleet by 2030. The agency will not buy any more internal combustion-powered buses; all new buses purchased will be battery electric, eventually replacing the entire fleet with zero-emission buses.
The new 75 passenger bus will have a range of approximately 150 miles which is anticipated to power it for a full day’s service. A full recharge takes under three hours using ChargePoint Express fast chargers at BBB’s facility. The bus uses lithium-ion batteries similar to what are used in modern electric cars like the Tesla. And like all electric vehicles, the bus is extremely quiet, an added bonus for people near our busy streets.
Gillig is the manufacturer of the new buses, which are being built at their plant in Livermore CA. The powertrain and batteries were developed and built by Cummins at their facilities in Tennessee and Indiana, so the entire vehicle is U.S. made. It was in development for over 5 years in close collaboration with BBB.
As the BBB electric fleet grows in the coming years, it will play an important role in meeting Santa Monica’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 (meaning that none of the energy use or transportation in the city will contribute to net greenhouse gas production). Emissions from transportation are the single biggest source of greenhouse gases in Santa Monica, primarily from private cars. So using our comfortable, reliable Big Blue Buses for your transportation needs is one of the most important things you can do to address the climate crisis!
What do you think? Are you excited to try out the new electric Big Blue Bus? Leave your comments below. View the Big Blue Bus routes and schedules here. See you on the bus.