Metro Transit Receives Federal Grant to Purchase Three Electric Buses

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 3:40pm

Buses Expected to Hit the Streets in 2019

Metro Transit has been awarded a $1.3 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No-Emission grant to help with the purchase of three Proterra battery-electric buses in 2019. The new electric 40-foot buses will replace three retiring diesel buses in Metro’s fleet.

The FTA’s Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program provides funding to local and state transportation agencies to aid in the use and development of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced fuel technologies. Under the FAST Act, $55 million is being awarded yearly until 2020 for these types of projects. In 2017, fifty-one agencies throughout the United States received a share of the $55 million funding.

In 2016, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin named electric buses as a major element in the City’s sustainability plans and directed Metro Transit to focus on introducing electric buses into its fleet. The Mayor set a goal of making 50 percent of Metro’s buses zero emission by 2035.

“Metro has always been firmly committed to finding new and different ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Metro Transit General Manager Chuck Kamp. “Metro was the first transit system in Wisconsin to introduce hybrid-electric buses. We also use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, and our facility runs on 37 percent Green Power. We are excited to take this next step in our use of clean energy.”
Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacturing of state of the art zero-emission buses with more than 400 vehicles sold to 38 different municipal, university and commercial transit agencies in 20 states.

Proterra Catalyst buses can operate up to 350 miles on a single charge. The power/fuel cost to operate a Proterra bus is $0.16 per mile compared to $0.63 per mile for Metro’s hybrid electric buses, $0.74 per mile for compressed natural gas vehicles, and $0.84 per mile for standard diesel buses.

In addition to zero emissions and outstanding fuel economy, these buses create little to no noise when idling. In motion, they operate at a noise level that is below that of a normal conversation. It is also expected that these vehicles will carry a much lower maintenance cost than standard diesel buses.

Each electric bus is expected to cost $667,000.

Metro is committing $1,537,050 to this project which covers the cost of three of its regular diesel buses. The Lo-No grant funding will provide the additional $1,278,950 necessary to purchase Proterra electric buses.

Metro extends its appreciation to Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) for its help bringing these buses to the Madison area by providing local share funding for charging infrastructure as well as technical expertise to facilitate the most cost effective and efficient use of this new type of vehicle power.

Metro Transit has also partnered with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to develop the winning proposal and will work with CTE to deploy the buses. CTE is a non-profit engineering firm whose mission is to move U.S. manufactured, clean transportation technologies into the marketplace. CTE’s involvement in these projects minimizes the risks associated with deploying advanced technology buses and ensures the most effective and efficient operation of these buses.

“CTE is excited to partner with Metro Transit on this battery electric bus deployment", said Dan Raudebaugh, CTE’s Executive Director. “We commend them for their vision and commitment to zero-emission transit. “We would also like to express our gratitude to FTA for their continued support.”

Metro staff are planning for battery-electric buses to hit the streets in September of 2019.


Metro Transit