RTC Gets First Battery Electric Buses in Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

RTC Gets First Battery Electric Buses in Nevada

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The Regional Transportation CommissionHas been operating battery electric buses for about one month.

Each bus costs roughly $900,000 a piece and was paid for by a $4.6 million federal grant.

In comparison, a diesel bus costs about

$700,000 but officials say that money will easily be saved in fuel and maintenance.

The electric buses can drive for an hour before stopping to recharge for about five to ten minutes. 

That's about the same amount of time the older buses have for their layovers.

And while the diesels get 3.8 miles per gallon and when you compare the amount of energy used the Proterra electric buses get about 21 miles per gallon, and zero emissions.

"Every one of these buses that you see, sitting here, takes off 300,000 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere, every year," Dale Hill, Proterra, Inc. Founder said.

The federal government chose the Truckee Meadows as part of a demonstration project, partly to find out how well the battery-operated buses work in both cold and hot weather.

"We want to be able to run all the systems on the vehicle, air conditioners, heaters, all that stuff, make sure everything works well, and see how these systems also work over time," Lee Gibson, RTC Executive Director said.

The buses can carry a full load of passengers at 55 mph and can handle an 18-percent grade.

And they even recharge as they go downhill.

Senator Harry Reid says the buses are just the tip of the iceberg for energy-efficient vehicles.

"It's not going to be long until garbage trucks are the same," Reid said. "This is going to happen a lot sooner than you think."

Experts say that over 12 years, each new buses will save a half-million dollars in fuel savings, at today's prices, and 130-thousand dollars in maintenance.

"You have no belts, no oil to change, no filter, then you get the fuel savings and the maintenance savings," Hill said.

Ten other cities already use these buses and Hill says, in the next five years, as many as 30-percent of new bus purchases, in the United States, will be battery powered.

"They make no noise, they don't pollute the air, and they save huge amounts of money," Reid said. "This is a deal."

The four new buses operate on the Sierra Spirit route, between downtown Reno and the University of Nevada.

If things go well, they're slated to get four more battery electric buses, next year, for the 4th-Prater Rapid Extension.

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