October has seen two exciting announcements about electric transit bus deployments in Ohio, first from the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and second from Laketran. Both announcements represent a promising path forward for the future of electric transit vehicles in the state.
On October 6, 2021, COTA issued a press release announcing the expansion of its environmentally friendly fleet with the addition of its first two new electric transit vehicles, running on several routes daily, in a continued effort to reduce the authority’s vehicle emissions. The two vehicles were expected to begin service on Monday, October 11.
“Our ambitious and achievable goals are for COTA to be diesel-free by 2025 with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and these electric transit vehicles are the latest step we are taking to make this a reality,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton.
The two new electric COTA buses are manufactured by New Flyer and boast a range of over 150 miles per charge. In September 2021, COTA’s board also approved the purchase of eight additional electric coach buses in 2022. COTA is also planning to purchase twenty-eight compressed natural gas (CNG) each year until 2025, when it will be retiring all its remaining diesel transit vehicles.
Then, on October 18, 2021, Laketran hosted a community celebration for their deployment of ten New Flyer electric transit buses, bringing its zero emission vehicles to 60% of its local route bus fleet. The celebration also served as a dedication ceremony of Wickliffe Transit Center, which brings en-route fast charging infrastructure to allow continuous charging for the buses throughout the day. US Senator Sherrod Brown appeared as a special guest at the celebration.
“Laketran is committed to making public transportation in Lake County a model of sustainable practices. Today, we are improving the transit experience for our riders, while operating the cleanest and most efficient transportation in the state. We’re reducing emissions and noise pollution while saving thousands in fuel and maintenance costs,” shared Brian Falkowski, Laketran’s Board President.
Various Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant programs aimed to reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and public transit access are funding Laketran’s electric buses and charging infrastructure program.