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Santa Monica to Unveil Its First Battery Electric Bus

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place next Wednesday. That ceremony is a press event that is not open to the public.

By Lookout Staff

August 13, 2019 -- Santa Monica will unveil its first electric bus next week marking a major step towards an emission-free future, City officials announced Tuesday.

The 40-foot prototype battery electric bus (BEB) was built by GILLIG Corporation in partnership with Cummins, which designed and manufactured the battery packs and electric propulsion system.

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"Preservation of people, place and planet, along with city and state goals for zero emissions, guided BBB’s important work toward strengthening its commitment to sustainability and the environment," BBB officials said in a statement.

To add the vehicle, the transit agency last year altered its contract with Gillig to exchange one of the 20 planned Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses it purchased for the BEB at an additional cost of $429,559 ("Santa Monica Purchases Its First Electric Bus," July 31, 2018).

The City also signed a $131,500 contract with the Center for Transportation and Excellence (CTE) to help assess the charging equipment and technology.

"The lack of widespread deployments could present challenges for transit agencies unfamiliar with zero-emission technology, as there are specific operating characteristics and fueling requirements associated with its deployment," staff said.

Although initially costly, electric buses have been found to be less expensive over the long term and provide an environmentally cleaner service, BBB officials said.

The new bus is the cornerstone of a pilot project to create a sub-fleet of ten zero-emission battery electric buses ("Santa Monica City Council Gives Nod to Pilot Project for Sub-Fleet of Electric City Buses," April 24, 2018).

The BBB’s goal is to be at 100 percent zero-emissions within 12 years ("Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Could Go all Electric by 2030," July 7, 2016).

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