Santa Rosa CityBus has purchased four battery-electric buses (BEBs) and will install six single-port Electric Vehicle (EV) charging systems initiating its plan to transition to a fully zero-emission fleet by 2040. The new all-electric zero-emission buses, scheduled to arrive summer 2022, will remove four 40-foot diesel-fueled transit buses from circulation. The replacement reduces ongoing fuel and maintenance costs, and the City of Santa Rosa’s carbon footprint.
Transitioning CityBus’ fleet of 29 buses to new zero-emission buses will occur gradually over the next several years in compliance with the California Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule (ICT) adopted in 2018. This rule requires all public transit agencies in the state to adopt and implement plans to transition their fleets to zero-emission buses by 2040. ICT also states that all new bus purchases in California must be zero-emission by January 1, 2029.
The four Proterra zero-emission buses were purchased with funding awarded through two $2.9-million competitive grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in 2017/2018. To optimize the funding award, CityBus will lease the battery systems for the BEB’s, a strategy that made the purchase of four zero-emission buses possible. The EV charging systems will be installed in the City’s Corporation Yard by January 2022 with funding through the PG&E EV Fleet program. In exchange for PG&E upgrading the power supply and connecting electrical wires to the EV charging systems, CityBus is committed to purchasing nine BEBs and installing five dual port chargers by 2025.
CityBus is making plans already for future bus purchases. During the October 26, 2021 Santa Rosa City Council meeting, Council approved staff to submit an application to the FTA for grant funding to replace six 2011 buses with six new all-electric zero-emission buses. Council also approved installation of additional EV charging systems that will be needed to support these additional buses.
Reducing the transportation sector’s reliance on petroleum is a key component of a statewide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment. According to the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority’s analysis in the Climate Action 2020 plan, on-road transportation is responsible for generating the majority of greenhouse gas emissions within Sonoma County. Although the most significant portion of Sonoma County on-road transportation emission is attributed to single occupancy vehicles, replacing a CityBus diesel bus with a zero-emissions bus is the equivalent of replacing five personal automobiles on Sonoma County roads. Ultimately, BEB “well to wheel” emissions depend on how electricity for the grid is produced. With the inception of Sonoma Clean Power in 2014 and the City’s commitment to Evergreen power, the 100% renewable (84% geothermal & 16% solar), locally produced energy, and a shift to BEBs allows for a reliance on a portfolio of cleaner low emissions electricity.