ACTION ITEM 2 - Implement Battery Electric Bus (BEB) Technology
Pace recognizes how interest to electrify vehicles across private industry and US federal, state, and local governments has been intensifying throughout 2020-2021. Looking ahead, the agency will holistically evaluate a transition path to converting its fleet to battery electric buses (BEB).
Among the many first steps we are taking, Action Item 2 of the A-2 Capital Improvement Projects initiative describes Pace’s forthcoming Facilities Plan. This effort will include an investigation of the prerequisites that BEB technology requires to successfully operate. Once established, Pace will further plan what next steps to take toward transitioning the rest of its fleet.
In the coming year, Pace is also slated to receive two fully electric paratransit vehicles as part of an IDOT-led purchase of buses. The agency is also in discussions with various other regional stakeholders to identify partnerships for procuring vehicles and charging infrastructure, as well as explore funding opportunities that will allow Pace to pursue the implementation of this technology.
A Union of Concerned Scientists 2017 study indicates that BEB’s have 70 percent lower global warming emissions than CNG or diesel hybrid buses even when considering the lifecycle missions required to generate the necessary electricity. Similarly, a 2018 US PIRG Education Fund Study4 indicates that implementing BEB’s lower operational costs yields fuel and maintenance savings over a vehicle’s life cycle.
Pace praises the efforts of many other transit agencies across the nation and world who are investing heavily in transitioning their fleets to BEB and other green, renewable, and environmentally-cognizant sources of vehicle propulsion. We will coordinate closely with the CTA who is already pioneering this technology in the Chicago region, as well as IDOT, Illinois Tollway and other regional partners to identify opportunities to share resources, ideas and expertise for electrifying public fleets.