At its May 21, 2018 meeting the VVTA Board approved Resolution Number 18-04 declaring “its commitment to operate a 100% all electric fleet and establish a goal to meet this objective by 2040.”
“The move into battery electric technology is the right move at the right time,” said VVTA Board Member and Barstow Council Member, Rich Harpole. “In FY 18-19 VVTA plans to replace seven (7) CNG buses which have surpassed their service life. By procuring Battery Electric Buses (BEBs), VVTA places itself in a position to have Southern California Edison (SCE) provide all the required electric infrastructure as part of their SCE Charge Ready Transit Bus Program. This alone could save VVTA approximately $2.2M in the cost of bringing power lines and enough electric power to its Hesperia facility.”
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be enacting its proposed Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) rule later this year. In response, VVTA plans to get out in front of the regulation to take advantage of all the incentives that are available prior to actual regulation deadlines. For instance, the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), provides for a rebate of up to $150,000 per bus ordered before the state mandate takes effect. This helps offset the cost differential between a CNG bus and a BEB.
“VVTA analysts have carefully considered its zero-emissions options, reviewing an enormous amount of research and performance data from a number of different agencies to address the critical climate and operational challenges in VVTA’s service area,” commented VVTA Director of Maintenance & Facilities, Ron Zirges. “Factoring in all the unique variables, the steep hills, long distances, extreme weather, and traffic patterns, we are confident in the package we have selected and the limited number of routes these buses will successfully serve.”
With a range of approximately 140 miles between charges, VVTA plans to deploy New Flyer Xcelsior XE models, which will include five 35-foot and two 40-foot buses. Projected operational savings over the 12-year life of these vehicles is expected to be over $125,000 in maintenance savings over conventionally-powered vehicles.