Electric buses eventually hitting the road around UVA

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As gas prices rise and carbon emissions soar, the University of Virginia wants to build a fleet of electric buses.

University Transit Service has about 40 diesel-powered buses, but that will soon change. That’s because UVA is now investing in four new electric buses. Each one will cost about $900,000.

“The cost to purchase a battery electric bus, the purchase price is higher than a diesel, but over the life of the bus - 12-15 years -the operating costs are lower,” UVA Department of Parking & Transportation Director Rebecca White said.

UVA says the four buses will cut tailpipe emissions by 400 metric tons every year. That’s equivalent to the emissions of 50 homes.

“We understand that the battery pack has about a six-year life, but that technology is constantly changing. That is factored into the total cost of ownership of the bus,” White said. “We’re planning on all of the normal battery replacement that will come with owning that bus.”

White says it will take four hours to power up the electric buses.

“We have three charging stations coming with the four buses. Here at this lot we will be adapting our fueling infrastructure here to allow for the three chargers. Each charger allows for two buses to get charged,” White said.

This is another step in helping the university reach its goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2050.

“The tailpipe emissions associated with a diesel are very local and so that will be very noticeable from the start and the more we get the better local environment will be,” White said.

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