The Utah Transit Authority is testing a bus that runs completely on electricity. The 60-foot, 120 passenger bus would be the first zero-emissions vehicle to join UTA’s fleet—if it meets the transit authority’s standards.
“We’ll load it up with sand bags and test it on hills and so forth,” says Matt Sibul, UTA’s chief planning officer. He says with a price tag between 1-1.2 million dollars, the battery-electric buses are much more expensive than regular diesel buses, but the cost would be offset by savings in fuel. He says diesel fuel is twice as expensive as electricity.
Sibul says if all goes well with test-driving the battery-electric bus on Utah roads this week, zero emissions vehicles could become a larger part of UTA’s fleet.
“So we run about 600 buses right now at UTA, so long term we’re pretty excited about technologies like this—electric buses. So we may run maybe a third of our fleet in the future that are electric buses,” he says.
UTA adopted higher standards for bus emission output in 2007. If it were to swap out all of its 198 buses that pre-date 2007, it would save over 200 tons of pollutants per year.