Wednesday, May 30, 2018

electric bus on Maui, Hawaii

A news item from last month is below.  An electric bus (not the one in the photo) has been noticed in passenger service on Maui in the last few days.

"A Proterra Catalyst all-electric bus, which costs more to buy but runs cheaper and environmentally cleaner than current Maui buses, will be doing tests on island public transit routes this week, the county Department of Transportation announced Monday.

"The bus, which will not be carrying passengers, will run routes Upcountry and in West and South Maui in a three-day test.

“If things work out, we will bring the Catalyst back for a longer test period where we can actually let the public take a ride on it,” said Transportation Director Don Medeiros. “We plan on testing other electric buses in the near future to find out what works best for our community.”

"The Catalyst completed a one-month trial on Oahu before coming to Maui, the Transportation Department news release said. The bus will be running at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for the next 13 months, and the department plans to evaluate the performance of the bus before making a decision, Medeiros said.

The 40-foot [14-metre] -long, zero-emission Catalyst runs quieter on its electric batteries than petroleum-powered buses, the news release said. It has 42 seats and can handle up to 37 standing riders — for a 79-passenger capacity.

"It can adapt to urban and rural routes and is designed to run a full day on a charge, Medeiros said. Part of the test will be to see if the bus can make an Upcountry run.

“It’s a very quiet bus, and the only thing you can really hear while riding it is the air conditioning,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa, who received a briefing and ride. “We are excited at the possibility of making cleaner modes of public transportation available for our riders.”

The buses costs $700,000 each, about $100,000 more than regular petroleum-powered buses, Medeiros said. However, the fuel cost savings projected for an expected 12-year life for the bus is $400,000. Currently, county buses consume 250,000 gallons of gas a year.

The Proterra currently operates in the Seattle-Tacoma area; Wilsonville, Ore.; Redding, Modesto, Santa Clara, San Joaqin Valley and Fairfield, Calif.; and at Sacramento and San Jose international airports."

For more information on the bus, visit

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