We test drive one of CARTA’s new electric buses

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – CARTA already operates one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the U-S, with the shuttle buses downtown.

Now, they’re expanding their electric fleet.

News 12’s Ashley Henderson joins us now live in the studio, with the details.

CARTA is expanding its electric fleet to include its fixed route buses.

We’ll take you on a virtual ride to see some of the differences between these new buses and the existing electric shuttle fleet.

“People have loved the buses in our downtown for years, this allows us to get out into the neighborhoods and provide that same kind of experience for our residents.”

The 3 new electric buses are the full sized 35 foot transit vehicles. They’ll be doing regular duty on the normal bus routes all throughout the city.

“They’re on the road now and they’re doing great, they’ve been on the road since Monday, their performance has been phenomenal, so we’re very happy about that. They’re averaging about 8 and a half hours per charge, and we’ve tested them on seven different routes, so it’s been going really, really well.”

Mayor Andy Berke says this is just another step in the city’s transformation.

“50 years ago, we were called the dirtiest city in America, and this is a sign that we have to take care of what God gave us.”

One of the other big changes is that these buses don’t have to be plugged in to charge the batteries. They can also use inductive charging, which is a wireless transfer of power, when the bus is parked over the charging plates.

MARAGNANO: “We have momentum dynamics it’s a 200 Kilowatt inductive charging, it’s located inside our Shuttlepark south facility, the bus can pull up over that and it can do something called an ‘opportunity charge’.”

A one minute inductive charge translates into about a mile and a half on the road.

Although the new buses are operated the same as the diesel ones, the drivers still have some training to do.

MARAGNANO: “We put them through training because – as far as the driving of the vehicle it’s not different, but it’s so quiet. . .”

“that’s a big difference, you know it’s a big difference for the drivers and for the public too because you can hear a diesel bus coming, you really can’t hear these buses coming so it’s really more of them getting used to the operation of the vehicle.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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