CTA to Acquire Two Electric Buses for Testing and Research

June 13, 2012
New buses expected to arrive in late-2013
The Chicago Transit Board today approved the purchase of two electric buses for the agency’s first-ever in-service test of all-electric-powered vehicles.
CTA will rigorously test the new vehicles on actual bus routes and assess their ability to operate in Chicago’s tough environment of extreme heat and cold with heavy passenger loads.
“We are continually looking into the latest technologies to help improve our service and reduce our costs,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “This initiative will not only help advance the transportation industry by allowing them to test the latest technologies in our city, but will also allow us to explore new technologies that might make the agency more efficient and environmentally friendly.”
The CTA was successful in securing funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to test new bus technologies. Unlike the vehicles from CTA’s previous bus purchases, which have been for diesel or diesel-electric hybrid buses, the two buses will operate solely on electricity and must be able to travel up to 100-miles on a single charge.
The two new buses, which will be standard sized, will be equipped with the same features as the rest of the bus fleet, including: a camera surveillance system, an Automatic Voice Announcement System (AVAS), maintenance diagnostic systems and passenger information systems. Each bus also will be low-floor, ramp-accessible and equipped with air conditioning.
The buses will feature an electric propulsion system built by Siemens and will be powered with lithium-ion polymer batteries. The buses can be charged using a plug/electric outlet set-up that is similar to other electric vehicles.
CTA is funding this purchase through the FTA’s Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program. The $2.5 million contract was awarded to New Flyer following a competitive bid process. The electric buses are expected to arrive in late-2013.
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