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SolTrans is Going Paperless

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Road Map to 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 with an agency goal of 2033.  The first all-electric buses joined the local fleet in early 2017, with two BYD K9M all-electric low-floor buses arriving. One was wrapped in a design by local Vallejo artist Miro Salazar with art representing the communities of Benicia and Vallejo.

Local artist Miro Salazar designed bus

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, providing several opportunities to fast charge the commuter coach, thereby increasing the range (see below for the inductive charging unit). 

In the fall of 2022, SolTrans introduced the first all-electric SolanoExpress bus.

SolanoExpress All-Electric Bus
Local All-Electric Bus

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 approval transition to 100% zero emissions, SolTrans constructed and installed, Solano County’s first inductive electric charging unit at The Curtola Park and Ride Hub. In September 2022, the SolTrans Board and community partners cut the ribbon on the new technology. The inductive technology allows the bus to charge without installing an obtrusive, above-ground charging infrastructure or taking buses out of service for charging. The bus will simply pull over the in-ground inductive charging pads and will automatically begin to charge. With this wireless system, the charging is fully automatic, requires very little interaction by the driver, and extends the battery range of the bus. Charging takes place while the passengers are loading and unloading; each charging session automatically ends when the bus pulls away from the pad. The inductive charger will go into service in early 2023. Plans to extend inductive charging pads to more Solano County transit centers in the future, stay tuned for more details.

The SolTrans Board authorized Staff to sign a contract with engineering and design firm  WSP  to design the depot charging infrastructure for a fully electric fleet at The SolTrans Operations and Maintenance Facility in Vallejo. Construction on this project will break ground in April 2023. 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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