Mayor Emanuel, CTA Announce Plans to Purchase New All-Electric Buses

January 22, 2016

Agency’s first two all-electric buses deliver impressive results first year in operation

Following a successful year-long operation of Chicago’s first two all-electric buses, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval Carter, Jr. today announced plans for the nation’s second largest transit agency to purchase between 20-30 additional all-electric buses in the next few years, building on Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to make Chicago an environmentally friendly city.

“Chicago continues to be a leader in finding innovative ways to deliver world-class transportation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Expanding the CTA’s electric bus fleet provides customers with dependable service while continuing my commitment to making Chicago the greenest city in the world and protecting the environment for future generations.”

The CTA was the first major transit agency to use all-electric buses as part of daily service on several routes citywide beginning in October 2014. 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 buses are part of a larger modernization effort of CTA’s buses and trains spearheaded by Mayor Emanuel.  Since 2011, the CTA has added more than 2,000 new rail cars, new buses and overhauled buses to make them “like new”, providing Chicagoans with the newest rail and bus fleet in a generation.

“This is an exciting time, as once again the CTA has a leading role in shaping the next generation of the public transportation industry,” said Carter. “The performance of these buses has exceeded our expectations not only in performance, but also in customer response and we’re confident that all-electric vehicles are a viable, positive option for the future of the CTA and for the transit industry.”

The CTA’s electric buses have met or exceeded CTA’s expectations related to miles the buses are able to travel per battery charge and the reduction in emissions compared with traditional diesel buses:

  • The buses have performed extremely well, with no significant mechanical or performance issues
  • They carried approximately 100,000 passengers on across 13 different routes, and traveled roughly 25,000 in-service miles.
  • The buses have proven to operate 80 miles on a single charge, in line with their expected performance.
  • The reduction in harmful emissions from operating the electric buses so far is the equivalent of removing 14 passenger cars from the road and an estimated $39,000 in health benefit savings, as a result of fewer occurrences of respiratory illnesses.
  • In an average year of use, the CTA expects each electric bus to fully realize its estimated annual fuel savings of $25,000 and its estimated health savings of $55,000.

The electric buses are the CTA’s latest effort to modernize its fleet with vehicles that are clean, modern, reliable, more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly. Currently, about 15 percent of CTA buses are hybrid electric-clean diesel buses.

Since 2012, CTA has replaced vehicles purchased in 2000-2002, purchased 425 new buses and performed mid-life overhauls on more than 1,000 buses to extend their lifespans and make them more environmentally friendly than when they were brand new, with the addition of diesel particulate filters.

A request for proposals is expected to be issued later in 2016, for the manufacturing of 40-foot buses and new en-route charging systems. The estimated investment is between $30 million and $40 million, funded through a combination of federal funding sources that CTA is still finalizing.


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