IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Feds Turn to California Nonprofit for Electric Bus Expertise

The Federal Transit Administration is partnering with CALSTART as part of its Research to Practice Initiative to find the best ways to get electric vehicle research and data to local transit agencies.

Proterra Bus
The federal government will tap the expertise of a California-based zero-emission research group to help transit agencies across the country with the transition to electric buses.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded a $545,000 grant to CALSTART to administer the agency’s new Research to Practice (R2P) Initiative.

The R2P concept makes research and innovation related to electric transit vehicles available and applicable to local agencies, freeing them to easily apply best practices.

“This will really be taking all of the great research that’s been done — over years now — on zero-emission vehicles, and really condensing it down,” said Jared Schnader, director of bus programs at CALSTART, adding that the idea is to get information and data to transit officials that’s easy to use and apply.

CALSTART, a Pasadena-based nonprofit, has focused on understanding the many dynamics around transitioning transit fleets to zero-emission vehicles. The organization has also partnered with universities — like the University of Florida and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. — to develop an extensive background on zero-emission vehicles.

That information is “synthesized and condensed and put into, essentially, digestible pieces” for transit agencies, said Schnader.

The nonprofit has four regional working groups dedicated to the questions and issues around deploying zero-emission buses. This approach is the ideal way to share this information through the R2P Initiative, said Schnader.

“They’re running transit operations. They don’t have time to read 200- or 300-page documents. This is something that has to be condensed, that they have access to,” he added. “But also, meeting them where they are, in our regional working groups.”

The effort to accelerate the deployment of electric buses and other medium and heavy-duty vehicles has been growing, and is set to take on added momentum since the passage of the new federal infrastructure law, which will send some $90 billion to public transit to invest in capital and other projects.

“If you look at the administration’s priorities, and the technology developments and cleaning of the environment, that is something from the administration,” said Schnader. “And they have absolutely stepped up and started adding funding into those lanes.”