New York is typically the testing ground for revolutionary new public transit options, and the city's new all-electric bus pilot program is in keeping with this trend. Local transit authorities are testing out a new public bus that runs entirely on electric power supplied by three batteries, which allow the bus to travel 150 miles on one charge. If successful, the city could adopt the bus for all of its routes, allowing the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to save over $190 million a year in fuel costs.
The buses are constructed in China by a company called Built Your Dreams, Ltd. According to the New York Daily News, the company plans to open a manufacturing facility in California soon.
So far, rider feedback has been positive. The batteries, located in the back of the vehicle, have resulted in limited headroom towards the rear of the vehicle, but overall those who have had an opportunity to board the vehicle say it is relatively comfortable and spacious.
"It's quieter than the other buses," Sze Wei Mah, 47, a Brooklyn travel agent, told the source.
In addition to saving on fuel costs, the MTA could also avoid the need for oil changes, which are required for the average diesel bus every 3,000-4,000 miles. A typical MTA bus gets its oil changed every 5 weeks.
The only issue is that the new all-electric buses cost about $800,000 each, twice as much as the diesel models that the MTA currently relies on. But over time, the high price tag could come down as a result of scaling and improvements in production and supply chain processes. In the meantime, New York will experience improved air quality and finances while setting an example for other metropolitan areas looking to make their public transit more efficient.