The fleet of electric buses in Greensboro continues to grow.

The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) of the Greensboro Department of Transportation announced that it had received a grant of $1.1 million from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality from the Volkswagen settlement and in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding.

The funds are targeted to replace an ageing diesel bus in the GTA fleet with a new zero emissions electric bus and the necessary charging apparatus.

This grant combined with $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration that was announced in March for the purchase of three electric buses will increase the total number of electric buses in the GTA fleet to 21.  When combined with the diesel-electric hybrid buses in the fleet, over 50 percent of GTA buses will be electric or hybrid electric.

Greensboro was the first city in North Carolina to add electric buses to its fleet of vehicles used in its public transit system.  Electric buses ran their first routes on Jan. 31, 2019.  However, the grand opening of the electric bus program was officially launched with a ceremony attended by NC Gov. Roy Cooper on Feb. 21, 2019.

At the time, with 10 electric buses on the road, Greensboro had the second largest fleet of electric buses on the East Coast behind only Philadelphia.  By the end of 2019 Greensboro had 16 electric buses in its fleet.

Although the purchase price of electric buses is considerably higher than diesel buses, over the 12-year lifespan of a public transportation bus it is estimated that the city saves $350,000 in fuel and maintenance costs.

Although the savings in fuel costs are fairly obvious, it is actually the savings in maintenance costs that makes running an electric bus fleet economically viable.