Everett Transit to buy more electric buses thanks to Volkswagen penalty
EVERETT — The city’s bus system will be enlarging its electric fleet with eight more buses, and within a few years half its buses could be zero-emissions.
Everett Transit is receiving a $1.37 million grant to buy the eight buses from the state Department of Ecology, which ended up with a share of the penalty money from Volkwagen’s diesel emissions scandal.
The federal settlement with Volkswagen — the auto press dubbed it “Dieselgate” — required the automaker to pay more than $30 billion so far in owner claims and legal penalties over having cheater devices in its TDI models. The cheater devices use software that detects when the car is being tested for exhaust emissions, and temporarily modified the engine’s behavior to pass the emissions tests.
Everett Transit bought four electric buses earlier this decade, and those began service last fall on its most-used route, Route 7, which travels the Highway 99 corridor.
The electric bus manufacturer which Everett Transit buys from says more than 200,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions are reduced “annually each time a diesel vehicle is replaced by a zero-emission bus.”
The manufacturer Proterra says its buses run at up to 25 mpg-e. A study by Iowa State University found that recent-model diesel buses get an average of 4 mpg, and diesel-electric hybrid buses get about 5 mpg.
The tradeoff for the Volkswagen money is that Everett Transit must destroy and scrap the eight diesel-powered buses it is replacing.
Everett Transit owns 46 fixed-route buses overall. It has seven electric buses already, and has an order for nine more. It also has 10 hybrid diesel-electric buses in its fleet. The electric buses are manufactured by Proterra.
The agency is replacing its fleet of 17 diesel Orion V-model buses built in the 1990s and early 2000s. The long-serving Orion V launched internationally in 1989.
The additional eight electric buses will mean 26 of the agency’s fleet — just over half — will be fully electric when these hit the road.
A $3.4 million Federal Transportation Agency grant paid for Everett Transit’s first four electric buses.
A $8.5 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration, under a congestion-and-air-quality program, helped pay for the agency’s latest nine-bus order. Those buses are expected to come into service during 2020 and 2021.
The eight-bus order, with VW money, is still to come. The City Council just authorized receiving the federal money last week.
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