Lancaster, California – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has taken a major step toward becoming the first 100% electric public transit fleet in the country. The AVTA board of directors have voted to award BYD a contract to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five-year period.
The announcement was made during a special event that followed the meeting at the AVTA facility and was attended by elected officials, dignitaries and community leaders. Los Angeles-based BYD Motors, a global leader in developing electric transportation, will build the up to 85 buses for AVTA at its manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California.
“I’m pleased to chair a transit agency as forward-thinking as AVTA that also has the political will to do something no other transit agency in the country has done yet – go all-electric,” says Marvin Christ, chairman of the AVTA Board of Directors. “There are multiple benefits to electrifying our bus fleet, from creating jobs and eliminating harmful air pollutants, to reducing dependence on foreign oil. These benefits will be seen at the local, regional, state, and national levels. It’s really a win-win.”
Under the order from AVTA, BYD Motors will build and deliver a variety of all-electric bus models including a 40ft low floor transit bus, a 60ft low floor articulated bus, and a 45ft commuter coach. All 85 buses will have a range of more than 160 miles on a single battery charge. AVTA is also installing a wireless charging system to extend the fleet’s range to ensure the electric buses will be able to serve the agency’s longest rural routes.
“BYD Coach and Bus is proud to partner with AVTA on its groundbreaking decision to completely electrify its fleet,” says Stella Li, president of BYD Motors. “With more than 6,000 electric buses deployed worldwide and 90 million miles of dependable service already accumulated, we know that our technology will help AVTA save money and improve local air quality. Pure-electric powered transportation is no longer in the future - it’s here now. I hope other transit agencies in California and across the country take note and follow the example AVTA has set today.”
AVTA is anticipating a cost savings as a result of electrifying its fleet. Over the lifetime of the new electric bus fleet, the transit agency forecasts it could save more than $46 million compared to an all-diesel bus fleet, equivalent to $46,000 per bus per year in savings.
The agency expects to take delivery of 29 electric buses within the next 12 months and is working to secure additional grant funding from the Air Resources Board to purchase another 17 buses.
“This is a historic day for AVTA, which has been working diligently to secure grant funding to purchase these state-of-the-art zero-emission vehicles,” says Len Engel, executive director of AVTA. “We are proud to be the first transit system to adopt a goal of ‘100% Green in 2018’ and we look forward to leading the nation toward a new alternative in public transportation.”
Source: Antelope Valley Transit Authority