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TriMet Board approves agency’s first bulk purchase of all-electric buses

Just days after the world celebrated the 52nd annual Earth Day, TriMet’s Board of Directors has approved climate actions to reduce TriMet greenhouse gas emissions, move the agency forward on the road to a clean-energy bus fleet, and help make our region’s air cleaner. The Board passed two resolutions on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, that initiate TriMet’s first bulk purchase of battery-electric buses and expand the use of renewable diesel in our diesel transit service vehicles.

Zero-emissions milestone for TriMet’s bus fleet

With the Board’s support, TriMet will purchase 24 long-range battery electric, zero-emissions buses from California-based bus manufacturer GILLIG. The cost is estimated at $26.7 million dollars and represents our largest investment in electric bus technology to date. This is a critical milestone to transitioning to a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040. The buses in this first bulk purchase of all-electric buses will be long-range buses, with the aim to travel between 150 and 200 miles on a single charge. They will begin arriving in fall 2023.

“Transitioning away from diesel completely will take time as electric and other zero-emissions sources continue evolving, but now is the time to invest in this emerging technology,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr. “As transit is a vital part of the solution to climate change, this will keep TriMet on the forefront of new advances to improve the air we breathe here in the Portland region.”

TriMet has been testing electric buses since early 2019. We’re testing five short-range electric buses from New Flyer, five long-range electric buses from GILLIG and four diesel-to-electric converted buses, including what is believed to be the world’s first 60-foot, articulated bus converted to 100% electric.

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