Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) recently hosted a demonstration event of a zero-emissions, battery-electric bus at Vizcaya Metrorail Station.
Elected county officials and DTPW director Alice N. Bravo, PE, were given a short demonstration ride by Proterra, an industry leader in the design and production of zero-emission electric transit vehicles.
In October 2019, the Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approved the purchase of a minimum of 33 40-foot battery-electric buses and installation of depot chargers (charging systems) for the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW).
Every zero-emission bus can eliminate 1,690 tons of carbon dioxide over its 12-year lifespan. This is equivalent to taking 27 cars off the road. In addition, electric buses travel about 17.48 miles per diesel gallon equivalent. By using less fuel while traveling the same distance, or even greater distances than diesel-fueled buses, fleets using zero-emission buses can reduce their overall fuel costs annually.
“By utilizing battery-electric buses on our Metrobus fleet, we reduce our fuel and maintenance expenses while providing a more reliable and quieter ride for our transit riders,” said Alice N. Bravo, PE, director of the Department of Transportation and Public Works. “I am looking forward to placing our first battery-electric buses into service in the near future.”
Proterra will be manufacturing its battery-electric bus model ZX5 for Miami-Dade County. Delivery of the ZX5 bus to DTPW is expected early summer 2021.
Notable components of the new ZX5 bus model include:
• Improved acceleration — 1.5 times faster than a standard diesel bus;
• Enhanced comfort and ergonomics of driver area;
• USB power outlet for each sitting passenger and onboard Wi-Fi;
• Higher reliability and better ride quality;
• Bike rack compatible with fat-tire bikes;
• Automatic Passenger Counter (APC);
• Camera Surveillance System equipped with 14 CCTV cameras;
• Destination sign system with front and curbside color LED signs, and
• Improved lane change maneuvering capabilities
Additionally, the ZX5 battery-electric buses have a minimum of a 12-year lifespan, come with a 12-year warranty that covers the batteries and charging system, and include training, spare parts, and diagnostic tools.
The new battery-electric buses will replace diesel-powered buses that have surpassed their useful lives.
Currently, DTPW has 767 active buses in its Metrobus fleet. Out of those 767 vehicles, 420 are Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and 347 are diesel or diesel-hybrid buses.