Greensboro recently became the first city in North Carolina to add electric buses to its fleet, and the Greensboro Transit Authority showcased the accomplishment at an unveiling ceremony in February that featured Gov. Roy Cooper and other industry and state figures.
As people filed into Koury Aviation hangar to see the technology, they were handed a green leaf that matched the symbol on the new buses. Guests were encouraged to walk around and on the buses to notice the lack of tailpipes and smaller features like USB charging. The buses’ design doesn’t shy away from the fact that they are electric: It’s painted in bold letters at the top, and stickers on the back say, “We Dumped the Pump!”
The event’s first speaker was Adam Fischer, Greensboro Transportation Director. He focused on cost savings, noting that each bus is expected to save Greensboro $350,000 over its lifetime. Greensboro aims to have 10 electric buses in its fleet in the coming weeks and will add six more by the end of the year. The city has a goal of converting all 50 of its buses to electric, a target that Proterra CEO Ryan Popple said rivals other cities in the nation.
Mr. Popple went on to discuss how Greensboro is the first city in the Southeast to have a fleet of electric buses, and he shocked the audience when he revealed that the buses at the event had been running the entire time even though they were silent. With a plant in Greenville, South Carolina, Proterra was an easy choice for Greensboro when deciding on a bus developer. Designers and engineers at the event highlighted how each part is custom-made, so buses can take 18-20 months to deliver.
Gov. Cooper talked about how the residents of Greensboro would appreciate the buses for how quiet and clean they are without the need to burn diesel fuel. Indeed, during a ride-along at the conclusion of the event, people were quick to point out how enjoyable and silent the trip was. The bus even happened to drive by Greensboro Transit Authority’s older diesel models, which felt out of place compared to the sleek new electric technology.
Other cities across the state, including Asheville and Raleigh, are following in Greensboro’s footsteps by also ordering and unveiling electric buses for their fleets. Soon, more and more residents throughout North Carolina will get to experience and benefit from driving electric.