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CDTA rolling out four NFI electric transit buses in upstate New York

The Capital District Transportation Authority’s (CDTA)i in Albany, New York, is rolling out four electric buses to test the technology and charging infrastructure.

CDTA will put the electric buses it purchased from New Flyer of America into service as part of a pilot program. The transportation authority will monitor the range, charging timelines, electricity usage and performance of the vehicles throughout its route network as it looks to expand in the future.

Under the pilot, the buses will be rotated throughout the service area to ensure that they operate in all types of conditions. The buses will not only produce zero emissions but will also be quieter and are expected to yield lower operating costs than both diesel and natural gas buses. Customer and employee’s reaction to the vehicles will be included in the data sets that will be collected and analyzed as part of the pilot operation.

New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE 40-foot buses will eliminate between up to 175 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which supports CDTA’s mission to improve accessibility and mobility. This will also help the state reach its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2040.

In addition to delivering four 40-foot battery-electric buses, New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions was also selected to provide and commission four Siemens direct current depot chargers that conform to Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) J1772 Combined Charging System Type 1 standards.

Each charger weighs 5,200 pounds and contains 20 times the amount of charging capacity compared to most common electric vehicle chargers. They also have a built-in website that tracks the electric energy that is transferred to the 42 batteries contained in each bus.

Each bus costs $900,000, each charger costs $121,000. Training and tools needed for maintenance cost close to $200,000, bringing the total cost of the pilot project to $3.9 million.

Much of this was paid for through grants, including a $950,000 in federal money and $250,000 from the New York State Legislature (via Assemblywoman Fahy). Approximately $1.4 million from a 2016 settlement with Volkswagen will be directed towards the project. CDTA is using $1.3 million from its vehicle replacement reserve to complete the project funding.

CDTA is a multi-modal public transit agency, delivering comprehensive transit services to the Capital District of New York (including the counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady) and completing more than 16 million passenger trips per year for a community of almost 800,000 people. In 2017, the American Public Transportation Association awarded CDTA Mid-Sized Transit System of the Year.

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