After testing two all-electric buses for a full year, the CTA has decided to buy up to 30 more over the next few years.
The 40-foot electric-propulsion buses, manufactured by New Flyer Industries Inc., are designed to provide a cleaner, quieter ride that reduces fuel costs and significantly decreases emissions, improving air quality for customers and the general public. The CTA says each electric bus is estimated to have annual fuel savings of $25,000, as well as an estimated "health savings" of $55,000.
The health savings are calculated to include the reduction in harmful emissions from operating the electric buses. Running one electric bus is like the equivalent of removing 14 passenger cars from the road, which results in fewer occurrences of respiratory illnesses.
An electric bus costs about $800,000, or about $300,000 more than the average cost of a traditional diesel bus. The CTA expects to run the electric bus for 12 years, and thus pay for the extra costs with the fuel savings.
The CTA will issue a formal request for proposals later this year. The estimated cost for 20-30 electric buses is between $30 million and $40 million, which would be funded through a combination of federal funding sources that CTA is still finalizing.
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