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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — City officials in New Mexico have welcomed back electric buses after failed attempts in years past with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit.
Transit Department Director Danny Holcomb said on Friday that the electric bus service will begin operations on Saturday on a single route. Holcomb said multiple routes will be added to test how the vehicle’s battery life will be affected. “We want to see how it does on terrain, how it does with a full load, how it does with different temperatures going up and down hills,” he said.
Holcomb said the 40-foot (12-meter) bus, a Catalyst E2 series made by Proterra, can carry 37 passengers and is expected to run up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) a day in one charge.
The leased bus will serve as a test, as the city anticipates purchasing five before the end of the year. Each bus will cost about $925,000. A federal grant awarded to the city will cover about $725,000, while additional grants are expected to cover the remaining amount.
The new buses are different from the ART buses that were sent back after officials said they failed safety standards, KOB-TV reported.
“They were basically a brand new design,” ABQ Ride spokesperson Rick De Reyes said. “In this case, this is Proterra. It’s a different manufacturer. These are all over the country.”
The new buses will not be able to serve the Albuquerque Rapid Transit route, because they are too short, too low and don’t have the ability to adjust their height at the ART platforms.
The push to adopt electric buses began after Mayor Tim Keller pledged to make Albuquerque a 100 percent renewable energy city by 2030.
“Albuquerque has made a lot of progress in the last two years, adding several electric vehicles to our fleet, 38 new solar projects in city-owned buildings and we are the fifth most improved clean energy city in the country,” Holcomb said.