Growing interest in high efficiency, pollution-reducing transportation options is propelling investment in new electrified mass transit and trucking projects across the United States.


Proterra Catalyst® 40-foot zero-emission transit vehicles have the potential to achieve over $450,000
in operational savings per vehicle over 12 years as compared with diesel-powered buses.
(Photo courtesy Proterra)

Reflecting this trend, Black & Veatch announced it has completed the charging station infrastructure that powers Washington, DC’s new electrified mass transit project.


Based in Kansas, Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, construction and consulting company specializing in infrastructure for power, oil and gas, water, telecommunications, data centers and smart cities.


Washington, DC’s new electrified mass transit project is the latest move by U.S. cities to reimagine how to sustainably move people and experience the benefits of clean transportation, both on and off the bus.


The Washington D.C. Circulator System project has just added 14 of Proterra’s Catalyst E2 buses, each having a Proterra-provided 50kw charger installed by Black & Veatch along with the related infrastructure.


The electric buses were released across all six routes in the nation's capital on May 1. The District’s electric bus rollout makes it the largest electric bus fleet in the DC region, and one of the largest electric bus fleets nationwide.


Powered by high-capacity batteries, the buses will eliminate a projected 244,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission each year. The 14 electric buses are projected to cut the fleet’s fuel and maintenance bills by more than $6 million over the transit vehicles’ typical 12-year life cycle, while displacing nearly 90,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.


“With the arrival of electrified transit, public transit agencies and utilities must work in concert to develop infrastructure roadmaps that guide them beyond early pilots toward mass deployment,” said Paul Stith, director of Strategy and Innovation for Black & Veatch’s Transformative Technologies business and an expert in sustainable transportation and energy storage solutions.


“Partnering with an organization with deep EV infrastructure and utility experience like Black & Veatch will ensure infrastructure won’t hold back aggressive EV adoption,” he said.


At the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo on May 3 in Long Beach, California, Stith shared his insights during a panel about costs and considerations for developing charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.


U.S. cities purchase an estimated 5,000 public transit buses each year, and city officials are prioritizing electrification of their mass transit systems.


Some 850 municipal electric buses are on order, and there are active proposals for hundreds more.


Seattle will roll out 120 new electric buses by 2020, for instance, while Los Angeles is buying 95 electric buses for $138 million as the once-polluted city aims to replace its current 2,300-bus fleet with electric buses by 2030.


Also at the Clean Transportation Expo, ENow, a Rhode Island-based company that develops solar energy for the trucking industry, unveiled a new, all-electric, solar-based refrigeration system on a 53-foot tractor-trailer. The new “reefer trailer” integrates a proprietary solar technology, battery storage, and patented electronic control system.


ENow last summer tested the zero-emission transport refrigeration unit on a commercial truck in San Joaquin Valley, California. The unit achieved emission reductions of 98 percent nitrous oxide, 86 percent carbon dioxide, and 97 percent particulate matter over a five-month test period, compared to traditional, diesel-powered refrigeration units.


“This is a defining moment in clean transportation and a huge technological hurdle,” said Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow. “Over the last six years, we have demonstrated that our solar systems are powerful, reliable, and highly cost-effective - providing emissions-free energy for thousands of trucks across the country. With our new 100 percent electric reefer trailer, the food industry - with its more than 500,000 refrigerated vehicles - can realize the same economic and environmental benefits.”


By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)

May 7, 2018