LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has committed itself to an all-electric local transit fleet. With a unanimous vote, the board of directors authorized staff to release a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase up to eight zero emission buses, AVTA officials announced in a press release Thursday.
The RFP is the next step in the agency’s plan to convert its local fleet of diesel buses by 2019.
The environmental benefits, fuel savings, and availability of new grant funding for zero emission vehicles are the driving factors behind the board’s decision to begin replacing older diesel buses with new electric buses, according to AVTA officials.
“As a board, we are all very pleased that our decision was unanimous, and we can approach this next phase with a singular mind toward our goal of an all-electric bus fleet,” stated Board Chairman Norm Hickling. “The board is excited about the advances in technology that will result from this decision and its potential benefits to the community, both economic and environmental.”
The board has been supported in its push for electric buses by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who helped secure a $1.9 million grant enabling AVTA to acquire two electric buses in 2014.
The zero emission buses are performing well on AVTA’s local routes, and the energy cost to charge batteries is approximately 70% less than diesel fuel costs, according to AVTA officials.
The RFP will be released no later than June 2015 for an initial purchase of four to eight zero emission all-electric buses, with options to purchase another 17.
The agency will be awarding a five-year contract, and the manufacturers’ qualifications will be judged based on criteria deemed the best fit for AVTA.
The buses must be compatible with Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE) charging, an in-ground system that is planned for installation at the agency’s two main transfer centers.
AVTA provides local, commuter, and dial-a-ride service, to a population of more than 450,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County.