Charlotte, North Carolina Approves Electric Bus Pilot Program

The City Council of Charlotte, NC approved a public-private partnership between the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and eTransEnergy for a pilot program to run electric buses. The 12-18-month pilot program will test 18 battery-electric buses (BEB) from three different manufacturers.

During the pilot, CATS will collect data and assess vehicle performance. CATS should receive the battery-electric vehicles by the end of this year and the pilot programme begin in early 2022.

“eTransEnergy will support CATS with workforce training, performance data, procurement, electrical service management and installation of battery-charging infrastructure at CATS bus facilities,” said CATS CEO John Lewis.

The pilot is part of the city’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) which aims to have a city fleet and facilities fuelled by 100% zero-carbon sources by 2030 and have Charlotte become a low carbon city by the year 2050.

“Since 2018, the City of Charlotte has been working to achieve the vision of a low carbon Charlotte set forth in the SEAP,” said City of Charlotte chief sustainability officer Sarah Hazel. “Though 2020 brought incredible challenges on many fronts, it also highlighted the importance of this work, which is why it is so exciting to take this collaborative step towards reaching the ambitious goals we set for ourselves and our community.”

The pilot is partially funded through a US$3,723,712 Low or No (LoNo) Emissions Grant Award from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and from CATS’ Capital Investment Programme.

“We are excited to have developed a blueprint for public-private partnership with CATS to first pilot, then move to full-scale transit fleet electrification. We look forward to working with CATS and other transit authorities around the country to help them transition to clean energy transportation options,” said Greg Fields, vice president of eTransEnergy.