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Washington Transit Agency Orders Recycled Electric Buses

Two retrofitted electric buses are set to arrive in Lewis County in December. The new vehicles are being paid for using money from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement and the Environmental Protection Agency.

by Natalie Johnson, The Chronicle / August 17, 2020

(TNS) — Twin Transit announced this week that it has placed an order for two electric buses, expected to arrive in Lewis County in December, paid for with a combination of three grants.

The vehicles will be paid for by grants and incorporated into routes in early 2021.

Each bus is expected to cost, including sales tax, $786,232. Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement money will cover $400,000 of one bus and a $321,750 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant will go toward the second. The remainder of the money will be paid for with a Green Transportation Capital Grant.

“We’ve combined all three grants in an innovative new funding model. Together they will cover both electric buses and the Mellen Street e-Transit Station, which is a complete revamping of the Mellen Street Park and Ride,” said Andrea Culletto, community relations director for Twin Transit.

The two buses will be recycled, meaning they are both formerly diesel buses being refitted as electric vehicles. They are 2004 35-foot Gillig buses with Zero Emission Propulsion Systems and are being purchased through Complete Coach Works.

“The whole purpose of the grant is to put more electric busses on the road and eliminate diesel, so it really kills two birds with one stone,” Culletto told The Chronicle.

According to Complete Coach Works, the two buses will be “like-new” and will feature 180 kilowatt electric motor and controller.

“In 2018, Twin Transit offered its riders free trips between the Twin Cities in an effort to engage the public and gather feedback on electric buses. Complete Coach Works provided Twin Transit with a ZEPS bus for the demonstration,” Jim Paul, Northwest Regional Sales Manager for Complete Coach Works, said in a news release. “The ZEPS bus was well received by Twin Transit and its riders. We are thrilled Twin Transit has given us the opportunity to provide its riders with familiar safe and reliable transportation.”

In addition to buying the two new buses, Twin Transit will also begin construction on two electric transit stations outfitted with wave induction charging to power the buses.

The stations will be located on Mellen Street with construction in September, and National Avenue, with construction to start in 2021.

“When complete, the new e-Transit station will include electric car charging, electric transit access, bicycle and pedestrian access and visual enhancements. It will be a wonderful asset for our community and will bring financial stimulus through local jobs and tax dollars,” Culletto wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

The wave induction charging works in a similar way to a cellphone charging pad, Culletto explained. It allows the buses to charge while on their routes through charging panels installed in the pavement.

“While it’s sitting there, it’s charging,” Culletto said. “We’re one of the first here in our local area. It’s not really commonly used yet.”

Each station will include electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle and pedestrian access and other features, according to Twin Transit.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Twin Transit has worked toward integrating green technologies for a long time. To see that dream becoming reality is truly fantastic.”

©2020 The Chronicle, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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