Connecticut unveils first battery-electric public buses

Electric Bus
Photo credit Oleksandr Filon/GettyImages

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTIC Radio) - State leaders unveiled the first two battery-electric public transit buses in Connecticut Monday while at the Greater Bridgeport Transit (GBT) Intermodal Transportation Center.

According to officials, these are the first of five, 40-foot battery-electric buses to be deployed at GBT under the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) electric bus initiative.

The buses feature zero tailpipe emissions, officials said, with each electric bus avoiding 230,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year by replacing a diesel bus. That's the equivalent of planting 5,000 trees, officials said.

GBT officials said the buses will use 125 kWh (kilowatt hour) electric bus chargers installed at the GBT bus maintenance facility. 

"It'll give us a range, we hope, of 150 miles between charges," the CEO of GBT, Douglas Holcomb, said, "and it'll be followed in a year or so with three additional buses," of the next generation which he said will give about 200 miles between charges. Holcomb said that mile per charge range is what's really needed for a city bus service.

The introduction of the two electric buses is the start toward a future where all transit vehicles are powered by electricity, CT DOT officials said. 

Officials said the buses will also improve air quality and noise levels for those in the communities the buses will serve. 

In terms of air quality, officials said communities hit hardest by the health effects of air pollution will see improvements through reduced harmful diesel emissions.

"This green technology is state-of-the-art and will serve us for years to come with clean, safe, reliable service, which is the best way to get people out of their cars and onto buses and trains," Governor Ned Lamont said.