Metro Takes Another All-Electric Bus for a Test Drive
Metro will test an electric bus manufactured by New Flyer on three MetroBus routes beginning on Saturday, November 7. MetroBus passengers on three MetroBus routes will have a chance to ride the Xcelsior® XE40 model battery-electric bus and experience this new transit technology as it operates at different times on the #32 ML King-Chouteau, #57 Maplewood-Manchester and #99 Downtown Trolley routes through Tuesday, November 10.
This test drive will provide MetroBus operations with an opportunity to evaluate how this all-electric bus model performs on the street, specifically in cooler weather. This vehicle is the fourth electric bus that Metro transit has tested this year to take a closer look at the advancements, capabilities and benefits of electric bus technology. Metro tested an electric bus manufactured by BYD Co. in April, an electric bus manufactured by Proterra in June, and a refurbished Complete Coach Works model in July.
“We’ve tested several different models of all-electric buses to see how Metro could take advantage of this new technology,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro. “This bus, along with the previous buses we’ve tested, all must meet strict performance standards set by our maintenance team and provide the best return on investment for both Metro and our stakeholders before we would consider adding them into service.”
Metro is always exploring opportunities to improve efficiencies and maximize the return on investment by taxpayers, while minimizing environmental impact. Electric buses have the ability to significantly reduce costs for fuel, parts and labor, and they typically require less maintenance over their life when compared to diesel-powered buses.
The New Flyer bus being tested is 40 feet long and can operate on a single charge for about 100 miles. It is powered by one 160-kilowatt Siemens electric motor that takes about four hours to charge. Both electric and diesel-powered buses are built to last for up to 12 years or about 500,000 miles. However, with the efficiencies and diagnostic capabilities of Metro’s internationally recognized maintenance program, Metro transit is able to extend the operational life of its buses to 15 years or between 750,000 to 825,000 miles.
Metro is the operator of the St. Louis region’s public transportation system, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 391 MetroBus vehicle fleet that operates on 77 MetroBus routes in Missouri and Illinois; and Metro Call‑A‑Ride, a paratransit fleet of 120 vans. Metro is an enterprise of Bi-State Development (BSD), which also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and its surrounding industrial business park; the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD also operates the Bi-State Development Research Institute and the Regional Freight District.