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Charlotte Area Transit System and eTransEnergy launch new Battery Electric Bus pilot program

A collaboration between the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), the City of Charlotte, N.C., and eTransEnergy yielded the launch of a pilot for CATS’ bus fleet last week, known as the Battery Electric Bus (BEB) program.

This program will see a portion of CATS’ bus fleet electrified, allowing CATS to collect data and analyze vehicle performance while running through the greater Charlotte metropolitan area’s Corridors of Opportunity. Data will be collected for 12-18 months as part of a public-private partnership between the collaborators. Over those months, CATS will gain 18 BEB vehicles from manufacturers Gillig and New Flyer and charging infrastructure from ABB and Siemens, along with accompanying workforce development training.

“We appreciate working with CATS and the City of Charlotte to advance the city’s clean energy future,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy executive vice president and Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer. “Fleet electrification is a key component of our own clean energy transformation goal to reach net zero by 2050, and we look forward to working together on this pilot and eventually on newer and more exciting ways to lower carbon emissions here in our beautiful hometown.”

The first CATS BEB vehicle entered service this March, though the transit system received its first BEB vehicle in December 2021. Funding for the new vehicles stems from two sources: six of them will come from money provided by a Low or No Emissions Grant, and the CATS’ Capital Investment Program will pay for the remaining 12.

“We are doing something in Charlotte to be admired and praised,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said. “Our commitment to the Strategic Energy Action Plan really makes a difference. Our city fleet and facilities have a goal to be powered by 100 percent zero-carbon sources by 2030. That is really significant as a commitment to this community, and I know we have much more to do, but this is an important step.”

Under the Strategic Energy Action Plan, Charlotte aims to become a low carbon city by 2050. eTransEnergy – a subsidiary of Duke Energy – will work with the city and CATS to minimize the total cost of ownership for their new buses, reduce operational risk and accelerate their overall zero-emissions goals.

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