First of new electric buses arrives at CAT headquarters
Posted on August 28, 2018
By Greg Oliver
CLEMSON — Clemson Area Transit has moved one step closer to reaching its goal of replacing its remaining diesel fleet with electric buses by 2023.
CAT general manager Keith Moody said the city’s first of 10 newly designed electric buses arrived at the organization’s West Lane headquarters late last week.
Clemson Area Transit general manager Keith Moody stands next to the organization’s new electric bus, which was delivered late last week. REX BROWN | THE JOURNAL
“We are excited about expanding with the new Proterra battery electric technology and taking CATbus to the next level with zero-emission, 100 percent battery electric buses,” Moody said.
Moody said not only will the new buses broaden CAT’s electric fleet, which received national recognition when the city of Seneca became the first in the nation to use all electric buses in 2014, but the buses are made “in our backyard, by a lot of our own Clemson University graduates.”
“We think that’s such a great combination,” he said. “We are reducing the carbon footprint, saving the planet with less pollutants, investing in the local economy and creating jobs in our own state with our own Clemson University graduates.”
Moody said Greenville-based Proterra is manufacturing the buses, with the agreement of more than $9 million about $3 million less than originally projected due to equipment and construction of the charging stations at CAT headquarters. Under the agreement, Clemson has the option to purchase 29 electric buses in addition to the 10 arriving this year.
The new bus and the subsequent buses, secured by grant money requiring a local match, are scheduled to arrive between late this month and mid-October. The buses, which are predominantly purple with orange trim, were approved in April by Clemson City Council and also feature the words “Your Battery Electric Cat Bus” in orange and white on their side.
But before the new bus and those to follow are put into service, Moody said, they must be inspected by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
“Once the inspection is complete, we will start shadow-testing the bus without passengers,” Moody said. “Once it passes that stage, we will enter it into passenger service.”
Moody added he was uncertain as to when the new buses would actually be ready to be placed into service. When ready, he said the plan is to have the new buses on all CAT routes “from time to time” and to use the new technology “to share them throughout the CATbus system.”
Moody said earlier this year that the new electric buses differ from those being used in Seneca due to an extended charge. Whereas Seneca buses can operate for 30 miles on a charge, he said these buses will have a 150-mile charge and will be charged at CAT headquarters due to new charging stations now in place.
Moody pointed out that the new electric buses will hold 80 passengers, the same number as the diesel buses still in operation.