VVTA brings new battery electric buses to Barstow

Victor Valley Transit Authority (VVTA) delivered five new battery electric buses (BEBs) to Barstow, California this week.

This is the first time that passengers from the town of Barstow and surrounding communities will be able to board these New Flyer Xcelsior XE battery electric buses. The BEBs are another step towards VVTA’s commitment to operating strictly zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

In 2018, VVTA’s Board of Directors passed its approval of resolution number 18-04 “its commitment to operate a fleet of 100% electric and hydrogen fuel cells, and to establish a goal to achieve this goal of here 2035”. The first seven BEBs have been in service across the Victor Valley since 2019, and now with VVTA’s new Barstow facility, which was designed with future BEB implementation in mind and successfully opened at the height of the pandemic, now is the time to bring BEB to Barstow.

“The switch to battery electric technology is the right move at the right time for Barstow,” said James Noble, VVTA board member and Barstow board member. “By purchasing battery electric buses, VVTA is positioning itself to have Southern California Edison (SCE) provide all of the electrical infrastructure required under its SCE Charge Ready Transit bus program. This alone could save VVTA about $1 million in the cost of bringing power lines and enough electricity to VVTA’s Barstow facility.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) enacted its Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) project in 2018. In response, the VVTA walked out on regulation, taking advantage of available incentives ahead of actual regulatory deadlines. For example, VVTA was able to take advantage of the VW Mitigation incentive to purchase zero-emission buses. Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust is providing approximately $423 million to California to mitigate excessive nitrogen oxide emissions caused by VW’s use of illegal emission test neutralization devices in certain VW diesel vehicles. VVTA has requested that these funds apply to the purchase. The agency received $180,000 for each of the five BEBs ordered for Barstow.

“VVTA’s analysts have carefully reviewed its zero-emissions options, reviewing an enormous amount of research and performance data from several different agencies to address critical climate and operational challenges in VVTA’s service area,” the director said. of VVTA’s fleet and facilities, Dustin Strandberg. “Taking into account all the unique variables, steep inclines, long distances, extreme weather conditions and traffic patterns, we are confident in the package we have selected and the limited number of routes these buses will serve with success.”

With an average range of around 150 miles between charges, VVTA plans to roll out the five 40-foot buses in the coming days. Projected operating savings over the 12-year life of these vehicles are expected to be over $125,000 in maintenance savings compared to conventionally powered vehicles.

Melvin Z. Madore