StarMetro - It's Electric!
Construction Begins on FastFill Charging Station for Electric Buses
March 18, 2013
StarMetro is one step closer to launching its brand new all-electric, zero-emission buses. This week, the transit agency will begin construction on a fast charge station at C.K. Steele Plaza. This FastFill charging station, manufactured by Proterra Inc., will charge the electric buses at the central transfer station in as little as ten minutes.
"When fully implemented, we will have five electric buses in operation, which will be the largest electric bus fleet in the nation," said City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who serves on the city's Long Range Planning Target Issue Committee. "This action, along with our commitment to compressed natural gas fueling, once again reflects Tallahassee as a leader in sustainability and in finding ways to efficiently help our citizens travel throughout the community. The fact that we have been awarded over $7 million in federal grants also shows that our work is being recognized on a national level."
Ivan Maldonado, interim executive director of StarMetro, said the decision to place the Proterra FastFill charging station at C.K. Steele Plaza will eliminate the need for the electric buses to go off line to receive a charge at StarMetro's main facility on Appleyard Drive. "With the charging station at the plaza, the electric buses can rapidly recharge on-route as customers unload and board the bus."
To recharge at the Proterra FastFill charging station, an electric bus simply pulls into the plaza and automatically connects with an overhead system that links to the bus' high-capacity charger. The charging station includes advanced wireless controls that facilitate the docking process. The wireless controls identify that the electric bus is present and then automatically guides and connects the bus with the charging station, free from coach operator involvement.
In order to keep customers away from the charging station, StarMetro will construct a wall surrounding the high-voltage area. This wall will feature individual block pieces that are cast with a design, and then installed along the wall. The design, created by artists, will depict the transition of nature and energy through the seasons. This design will be visible by motorists and StarMetro customers in the plaza.
Staff expects construction to be completed by July, weather permitting. After a month-long testing period, the fast charge station will be operational, and the electric buses can begin service. By the end of August, the electric buses should be fully operational.
"Once our new electric buses are in service, we will be the first transit agency in the state of Florida and the first of the east coast to operate these revolutionary electric buses," said Maldonado. "We are proud to be on the cutting edge of technology, changing the transportation industry to better serve our loyal customers and keep our impact on the environment to a minimum."
In 2010, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded StarMetro over $5 million dollars of the Transit Investments for Green Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) II grant in order to purchase three all-electric buses and construct a charging station. The following year, StarMetro signed a contract with Proterra for the production of these buses and charging station. Last year, FTA upped its award to StarMetro by $2 million dollars for the purchase of two additional electric buses. With the delivery of the two additional electric buses, which are currently under construction, StarMetro will have five all-electric buses in its fleet.
For more information about StarMetro services, please call StarMetro's main office at 891-5200 or visit Talgov.com/starmetro. Other ways to view information include liking StarMetro's official Facebook page at Facebook.com/starmetrotransit or following the organization on Twitter at Twitter.com/ridestarmetro.
Ivan Maldonado, StarMetro Interim Executive Director, 891-5044; or Heather Teter, StarMetro Marketing Specialist, 891-5206