Des Moines' electric buses are off the road for fixes
DART's seven electric buses have been pulled off the road due to maintenance issues, Erin Hockman, a spokesperson for the public transit authority told Axios Thursday.
- Some of the problems are battery related.
Driving the news: The buses are part of a pilot program. Mechanical issues will be factored in evaluating the future of zero-emission vehicles in the fleet.
State of play: The buses are approaching two years in service.
- DART is working with the manufacturer to fix problems before some warranties expire.
- The electric buses were taken out of service about three weeks ago and transit officials are unsure when they will return.
By the numbers: The vehicles were purchased using a nearly $1.5 million federal grant.
- They can travel about 150 miles between charges.
- Each diesel bus replaced by electric reduces CO2 emissions by 230,000 pounds a year, according to DART.
What they're saying: Metro transit officials are reviewing other options, like hydrogen fuel cell technology, as a possibility for another zero-emission pilot program, Hockman said.
- DART commissioners will review options over the next year.
The big picture: Cities across the world are assessing the value of zero-emission technology in mass transit.
- Electric buses in Santiago, Chile, produced overall positive outcomes with pollution reduction and public perception but their long-term financial costs or savings were unclear, one study published in 2020 concluded.
- A report last year about a pilot project in Washington, D.C. determined that electric buses met most goals but are also more expensive to operate because they cost more to buy.
Yes, but: Purchase prices are expected to decrease as the technology advances, the D.C. study noted.
⚡️ The bottom line: The future of electric buses is still charging.
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