HONOLULU — Honolulu is testing its first electric bus as part of a six-week pilot project.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled the zero-emission vehicle on Tuesday in front of Honolulu Hale, Hawaii News Now reported .

The battery-powered bus on loan from Proterra, Inc. will be tested on 23 existing routes across Oahu.

“We want to test it on the hilly, graded inclines on the Pali, maybe over the H-2 all the way out to the North Shore, but also see how it handles very heavy passenger loads in urban Honolulu,” said Jon Nouchi, deputy director of the Department of Transportation Services.

Honolulu’s diesel buses cost nearly $600,000 each. And while an electric bus is $745,000, supporters of the environmentally friendly buses said reduced operating and maintenance costs would lead to long-term savings.

“A bus like this is 40-feet long, can carry over 70 passengers, and yet gets the equivalent of about 26 miles per gallon which compares to about 4 miles per gallon for a traditional diesel bus,” said Matt Horton, chief commercial officer for Proterra.

Oahu Transit Services buys 6.5 million gallons (24.6 million liters) of diesel fuel each year. The agency expects that its fuel costs would be cut in half with a switch to an all-electric fleet.

On Oahu’s roads, there are currently 440 diesel buses and 100 hybrid vehicles, according to Oahu Transit Services.

The city wants to transition its fleet to completely renewable energy sources by 2035.


Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/

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