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SolTrans’ Road Map for Zero Emission, Fuel Cell Electric Buses

The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to require that all new buses be carbon-free by 2029. Environmental advocates project that the last buses emitting greenhouse gases will be phased out by 2040. The Innovative Clean Transit regulation is part of a statewide effort to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for 40 percent of climate-changing gas emissions and 80-90 percent of smog-forming pollutants. The transition to zero-emission technologies, where feasible, is essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. 

SolTrans is committed to meeting California’s Zero Emission by 2040 goal with an agency goal of 2033.  The first all- electric buses joined the local fleet in early 2017, with the arrival two BYD  K9M all-electric low-floor buses. One was  wrapped in in a design by  local Vallejo artist Miro Salazar with art representing the communities of Benicia and Vallejo.

Two more BYD all-electric buses joined the local fleet in early 2020 bringing the total to 4 all-electric buses in the local fleet.

In September 2020 the SolTrans Board approved the first all-electric commuter coach for the SolanoExpress Fleet. This pilot, sponsored by STA is to test a battery electric commuter  bus on a longer route to find out if  the battery capacity is sufficient to support the long-distance trips on the SolanoExpress Red and Yellow Lines. As part of this pilot, an on-ground induction charger by Momentum Dynamics  will be installed at the Curtola Park and Ride hub that will provide several opportunities to fast charge the commuter coach, thereby increasing the range.  Staff expect to introduce the newest electric bus, a BYD C10M,  to the fleet in the spring of 2021.

The SolTrans bus replacement road map lays out the purchasing plan for replacing the  21-remaining diesel-hybrid buses, the 16 CNG commuter coaches and the 15 paratransit vehicles in the local fleet. Purchasing electric shop trucks and other support vehicles is part of the 100% electrification plan.

To support the Board approved transition to 100% zero emissions, SolTrans needs the electric charging infrastructure to charge the fleet of battery-electric buses. In February 2020 the SolTrans Board authorized Soltrans to sign a contract with engineering and design firm  WSP  to design the  depot charging infrastructure for a future revenue fleet of 77 buses as well as in-route charging options at the Vallejo Transit Center and Curtola Park & Ride Hub. Construction on those projects break ground in late April 2021. Details and pictures to come.

Stay tuned for more exciting information on SolTrans’ transition to providing a cleaner transportation service for our passengers,  our community and for the present and future generations.  

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