UCLA zooms towards carbon neutrality with new electric buses
The new electric BruinBuses are the first electric buses at any California public university. The buses replaced UCLA’s last diesel buses and will join a fleet of 14 natural gas buses. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin staff)
By Roberto Luna Jr.
Sept. 27, 2016 7:33 p.m.
UCLA officials unveiled two new electric BruinBuses at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Dickson Court on Tuesday.
UCLA’s fleet now consists of 14 compressed natural gas buses and two new electric buses, which replaced UCLA’s last diesel-run buses, said Renee Fortier, executive director of UCLA Events and Transportation.
[Related: UCLA celebrates 30 years of sustainable transportation]
After Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck cut the ribbon at the event, students and faculty had a chance to ride the new buses around Dickson Plaza.
Fortier said UCLA plans to replace its natural gas buses with electric buses over the course of about seven years. Compressed natural gas buses usually have a lifespan of 10 years, while the electric buses are expected to run for about 12 years.
Clinton Bench, the director of UCLA Fleet and Transit, said even though the electric buses cost about $700,000 each, they will be cheaper than compressed natural gas buses in the long run because electric buses require less maintenance.
Fortier said natural gas buses cost about $100,000 less than electric buses.
Chinese manufacturer BYD made the buses in Lancaster, California, according to a press release. The buses will have a battery capacity of 270 kWh and be able to run 145 miles before needing to recharge.
Bench said the electric buses will not emit greenhouse gases, which will help UCLA reach its goal of net zero carbon consumption by 2025. Fortier added UCLA Transportation recently began a study to see whether they would be able to power their new electric buses using solar power.