GTA has been a local leader in transit sustainability with the use of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel buses and the construction of a Gold-certified LEED Operations and Administration Facility. Our next venture is our most exciting yet -- battery-electric rechargeable buses. The 40-foot coaches are being built by Proterra, a national leader in the production of custom battery electric buses based in Greeneville, SC.
The buses offer features similar to our existing fleet with the exception of its power source. Instead of diesel fuel, the buses use electricity stored in on-board batteries to drive the electric motor. This electricity comes from overnight charging kiosks as well as a quick-charging kiosk that can charge a bus in as little as eight minutes. Through a process called degenerative braking the vehicle's constant stops also provides electricity to the batteries.
GTA has long encouraged the community to "Dump The Pump" and ride public transit, and the Proterra bus will a stranger to the diesel fuel pump. Because no fossil fuel is used, the only emission from the battery-electric bus is water. There's also a reduced noise level for riders and the communities in which the buses operate. When placed into service, GTA expects to save $850,000 in fuel and maintenance per bus over 10 years. In addition to the energy saving features, the battery-electric bus will offer our newest perk to riders: under-seat USB ports for charging phones and mobile devices.
The first buses are now being built. You are welcome to follow #TheFridayBuild by following us on Twitter or viewing the pictures below:
September 18, 2018: Carbon fiber-reinforced composite body arrives at Proterra to begin assembly.
September 21, 2018: Interior floor is added.
September 28, 2018 - Crews begin cutting through the concrete bus parking lot to install one charging station for each electric bus.
October 5, 2018 - The underbody receives work along with the addition of the axles. Meanwhile in Greensboro, the preparations are made for the installation of the overnight charging stations at the maintenance facility and the quick-charging station at the Depot.
October 12, 2018 - The lightweight aluminum wheels are added along with the various lighting assemblies. Wiring begins to wind through the body to control everything from turn signals to air conditioning. Window openings are being prepared to receive custom-shaped glass.
October 26, 2018 - The remaining glass is installed. Exterior cameras are added. Carbon-fiber body is sealed. Bubble wrap is removed (I wonder who got to pop it?) Batteries are added along with more wiring. And here at GTA base, the pipes to funnel the wires for the overnight charging stations are laid into the trench.
November 2, 2018 - Duke power digs the trench required to connect the charging stations to the electrical lines on W. Meadowview Road. At the bus charging area, the electrical conduit has been completed and crews pour a porous concrete-like filler mix to firmly hold the buried lines in place while allowing for future excavation if necessary.
November 9, 2018 - The fully assembled bus goes through a battery (no pun intended) of tests including the water testing...a simulation of rainfall to detect any leaks in the structure. Here at the maintenance facility, 10 brand new charging kiosks are delivered in preparation of installation while construction crews do their final concrete pour to support the kiosks and parked buses.
November 16, 2018 - The bus construction is completed. GTA1 is loaded on a flatbed trailer for the trip up I-85 to Greensboro. But the project's not done yet...painting and decaling awaits the unit upon arrival. At the maintenance center, PCS bus charging units are uncrated and carefully installed.
November 20, 2018 - Five more chargers are installed for a total of ten power sources at the maintenance facility. At the Depot, work continues on the installation of the roof quick-charging system capable of recharging your bus in as little as 5 to 8 minutes!
November 30, 2018 - GTA1 prepares for painting with plenty of tape and string. Doors, lights and other items are either removed or covered to protect from the paint spray. Then, the magic begins...