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Friday, April 25, 2014

Tallahassee To Operate The Largest Fast Charging Electric Bus Fleet In The World

On our mall walk yesterday I ran into this cool electric bus.

You may re-call that 2 years ago I did a story about the London diesel-electric hybrid bus. Well Tallahassee has gone one step better. They are building a fleet of all-electric quick charge buses. Since the city owns their own power plant and electric utilities - they have an inside track to "cheap fuel."

Above you see a picture of one of the buses. It is perfectly silent. There is no idling engine belching out smoke while passengers enter. 

Here is a story from the city - 

StarMetro Unveils Electric Bus Charging Station

Largest All-Electric, Fast-Charging Bus Fleet in the U.S. Soon to be in Operation - Today, StarMetro is one step closer to launching the largest all-electric, fast-charging bus fleet in
the United States. This morning, Mayor John Marks along with other City officials unveiled StarMetro’s newly constructed Proterra FastFill charging station and debuted one of its five electric buses at C.K. Steele Plaza. With construction of the charging station complete, StarMetro will have its entire fleet of electric buses in operation by late August.
Mayor Marks also announced the launch of a contest that will engage citizens in helping unveil the new buses and win prizes from local businesses.
“The City’s launch of this innovative technology contributes to our larger vision and mission of adopting environmentally friendly initiatives that benefit Tallahassee residents,” Mayor John Marks said. “We are leading the industry, not just in Tallahassee or the state of Florida, but across the entire nation.”
Building the FastFill charging station at C.K. Steele Plaza will eliminate the need for the electric buses to be out of operation in order 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 in as little as ten minutes while customers unload and board the bus,” said Ivan Maldonado, director of StarMetro.
To recharge at the 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 at a safe distance from the charging equipment, StarMetro constructed a wall surrounding the charging station. While built with safety in mind, this wall serves as a custom designed artistic display. It features individual block pieces that have been cast with a design and then installed along the wall, courtesy of Henthorne Precast. The design, created by BuildArts, depicts the transition of nature and energy through the summer, fall, winter and spring seasons. This design is visible to motorists on Duval Street and West Tennessee Street and StarMetro customers in the plaza.
In 2010, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded StarMetro more than $5 million dollars of the Transit Investments for Green Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) II grant 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, the FTA increased the amount awarded by $2 million dollars for StarMetro to purchase two additional electric buses.
“Proterra’s all-electric buses are the natural choice for transit agencies struggling to balance budget constraints, ever-increasing fuel costs and mounting sustainability pressures,” said Garrett Mikita, President & CEO of Proterra Inc. “We are thrilled to see our buses go into service in another community and proud to have worked closely with StarMetro to take this critical step forward. We look forward to having our buses in service there for many years to come."
The electric buses will begin service on Canopy route during an initial test phase prior to bringing customers on board this fall.
At the unveiling, Mayor Marks also announced the launch of a contest to promote the City’s five new all-electric buses. The contest, open to all area residents, encourages the community to help unveil the buses for a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses located along StarMetro routes.
To participate in the #MysteryBus contest, citizens collect codes from around the city and enter them online at The first code StarMetro released can be found in July utility bills. Representatives from StarMetro will also be distributing #MysteryBus contest codes and information about the electric buses at many local community events. Additional codes will appear in advertising, on social media sites and in emails sent out from StarMetro to transit enthusiasts.
Each time a participant enters a code on, his or her name is entered into a raffle to win prizes donated by local businesses who have partnered with StarMetro. The more codes participants unlock, the better their odds of winning. Prizes will be given away multiple times a week, and winners will be announced on StarMetro’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
In addition to winning prizes, participants in the #MysteryBus contest will help the City unveil the electric bus. As more codes are entered into the system, more of the brown wrap will be peeled away to reveal the electric bus underneath.
For more information about StarMetro services, please call 891-5200, visit, like StarMetro’s official Facebook page or follow them on Twitter at
Contact Information
Brian Waterman, StarMetro Planning Manager, 891-5564; or Carrie Poole, Department of Communications, 891-8533

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