Support Local Journalism!        

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Regional transit agency promises to convert entire fleet to electricity by 2040.

COURTESY TRIMET - TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey speaks at the press conference where the first electric bus is unveiled.

TriMet is scheduled to put its first electric bus into service on Friday, and promises that all of them will be powered by 100% renewable wind energy in partnership with Portland General Electric.

Representatives of the regional transit agency and Portland-based utility made the announcements at a Tuesday press conference where they showed off the first bus. It will begin serving TriMet Line 62-Murray Boulevard in Washington County on April 19. Four more electric buses will soon be added to the line, TriMet said, and the entire bus fleet will be converted from diesel to electric power by 2040.

"Today, we are riding the winds of change. TriMet's commitment to a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040 and support of wind power put the agency and our region at the forefront of a cleaner future," TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said at the press conference at TriMet's Merlo Operating Facility in Beaverton.

"We are proud to support TriMet's work to electrify transportation across our region. Powered by wind, this all-electric bus line is a sustainable transportation option for the community and another step closer to a clean energy future for Oregon," said PGE President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Pope.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has made climate action and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions a priority for the state.

"Governor Brown is pursuing every avenue to reduce carbon emissions while supporting long-term economic growth, and she applauds TriMet and PGE for this groundbreaking effort," said state Transportation Policy Advisor Brendan Finn.

TriMet's Board of Directors approved the transition to a clean energy bus fleet on Sept. 26, 2018. The agency has been testing the first New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE zero-emission bus since early March. It has electric motors powered by energy stored in rechargeable battery packs instead of combustion engines fueled by diesel.

The bus can travel up to 80 miles on single charge. It can be recharged in 30 minutes with the fast charger at the Sunset Transit Center or four hours will the slower charger at the Merlo facility.

According to TriMet, the buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 100 to 140 tons per year compared to a 40-foot diesel bus, and by about 75 tons per year compared to TriMet's eight diesel-hybrid buses.

TriMet's first five battery-electric buses were purchased with a $3.4 million federal grant, plus a partnership with PGE. The grant from the Federal Transit Administration's Low and No Emission Vehicle Deployment program initially paid for four buses. Under the PGE partnership, the utility will own and maintain the electric charging equipment. The savings from the partnership allowed TriMet to purchase a fifth bus.

In August 2018, TriMet received a second FTA Low-No grant that will provide five additional electric buses.

In addition to these initial 10 electric buses, TriMet plans to purchase up to another 80 electric buses over the next five to six years with $53 million in funds generated by the Keep Oregon Moving Act.

New Flyer is North America's heavy-duty transit bus leader. It actively supports more than 41,000 heavy-duty transit buses currently in service, of which 7,300 are powered by electric motors and battery propulsion and 1,600 are zero-emission.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!

Go to top