Electric Double-Decker Buses Are Coming to L.A.

Source: CityLab

North America’s first electric double-decker transit bus is pulling up to Southern California in 2019. These two-tiered buses will cross between the San Gabriel Valley and the city of Los Angeles, with the intent of alleviating the region’s infamous traffic by doubling passenger capacity with a lighter environmental footprint.

Bus manufacturing company Alexander Dennis will pair its towering Enviro500 model with Proterra’s record-breaking E2 battery: Last September, the company set the world record for driving the longest distance, over 1,100 miles, on a single charge of an electric vehicle. For day-to-day use, the double-decker will be able to drive between 160 and 200 miles per charge. Electric single-deck buses can typically drive between 200 and 350 miles per charge.

“Electrifying city buses and school buses as well as other diesel applications is one of the best paybacks we can get from an environmental investment,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “The operator will probably save 80 cents a mile on fuel if they’re going from diesel to electric.”

Foothill Transit purchased two buses, costing $1.6 million each. They’re partially funded by a $1.4 million Metro Express Lanes Toll Revenue Capital Grant received earlier this year. The agency is planning to deploy them along a 35-mile route between downtown Los Angeles and Claremont, California. Previously, 60-foot articulated buses served 50 customers along this route, but the extra length made it difficult to find longer bus stops downtown. Comparatively, the double-deckers have better maneuverability and serve 80 customers.

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