Foothill Transit Gets World’s First Rapid Charge Electric Bus [Videos]

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about the availability of electric vehicles for the masses (public transport). Perhaps not as exciting as the upcoming Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, mass transit is also going green at a staggering pace. In fact, the world’s first rapid-charge electric bus will be hitting Los Angeles-area streets in November 2010.

With a Proterra EcoRide BE35 (dubbed the ‘Ecoliner and paid for by stimulus funds) in the fleet, Foothill Transit is becoming the first transit agency in the United States to use the world’s first rapid-charge electric bus.

Quick-Charge Electric Bus Rolls Into L.A. County

The first commercial deployment of Proterra’s battery-electric buses by a major transit agency like Foothill Transit is a significant milestone for Proterra and a bold step by the nation in our collective effort to decrease dependence on fossil fuel,” Proterra President and CEO Jeffery Granato said.

The Proterra bus features lithium titanate batteries from Altairnano. Lithium titanate batteries don’t expand and contract during recharging, so they’re very resilient and can hold up to frequent partial recharges. The Ecoliner’s lithium titanate batteries can propel the bus for three hours after a ten minute rapid charge. That won’t be any problem for line 291, as the Ecoliner will be able to recharge every half hour at a drive-in docking station installed at the Pomona Transit Center.

We look forward to additional communities throughout the U.S. and globally benefiting from the highly efficient, cost effective, clean alternative transit solution now available with the introduction of the EcoRide BE35,” said Granato.

The BE35 bus, which comes with a $1 million price tag, was paid for by stimulus funds. But according to Proterra, despite its high purchase price the $1 million BE35 can save transit authorities $300,000 in total lifetime operating expenses, not to mention a 400 percent improvement in fuel economy.

L.A. Gets World’s First Rapid-Charge Electric Bus


Foothill Transit has an even more ambitious goal, aiming for a 100 percent clean-fuel fleet by 2011. That means while the Ecoliner is the transit authority’s first green bus, it’s hardly the last.

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