On March 7, 2016, Chapel Hill resident Fred Lampe petitioned the Town Council on behalf of CHALT asking the Town to purchase electric buses. Read the petition here: Electric Bus Petition.
The Town Manager and Mayor assigned the petition for action to the Public Transit Committee (PTC), which includes members from the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Carrboro Aldermen, the UNC Transportation and Parking department, along with the director of Chapel Hill Transit. (This is the committee that oversees Chapel Hill Transit’s $20 million operation.)
In response to the petition, the group requested that Chapel Hill Transit hire a consultant to study how much an electric bus costs over the useful lifetime of the vehicle. The request for proposals will be presented to the committee for approval at their January 24, 2017 committee meeting.
Of note, Duke Energy offered to grant Chapel Hill Transit $50,000 to pay for an initial basic cable connected electric bus charging station. This amount is expected to cover 100% of the cost of the device and its installation. This device is basically a LARGE battery charger like those used to recharge an automobile battery that has run down. The offer is dependent on CH Transit ordering a single electric bus for trial by the end of 2017 for a trial to begin no later than the end of 2018.
Over the last several months, Fred Lampe has continued to share information with PTC members about electric bus developments and about other cities around the world that are using electric buses. Interestingly, a few cities have begun to use solar power to charge their electric buses.
Fred has also been invited to provide an update on the status of electric buses to the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board at their Jan 24, 2017 meeting. The Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board could be invited to join this meeting as well.
If you are a fan, like Fred, of electric buses, consider writing the Transit Partners.