ORLANDO’S E-BUS MAKES DEBUT
Orlando got an up-close look at the city’s first battery electric bus at an unveiling in front of City Hall on Thursday (Oct. 29).
OUC Board President Cesar Calvet hailed the shiny light green e-bus as “just a step along the journey toward a sustainable future for generations to come” in a reveal ceremony with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Jim Harrison, CEO of regional mass transit operator LYNX. OUC, the City of Orlando and LYNX are partners on a zero-emissions e-bus program. A total of 14 e-buses are due to hit the streets of Orlando over the next year.
“I certainly can’t wait to hop on one these new buses, and I know these will be such a welcomed addition to beautiful Orlando,” said Calvet.
All e-buses will operate on the LYMMO Grapefruit, Lime and North Quarter lines, removing emissions from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The e-buses were partly funded by a $1.9 million “Low or No Emission Grant” from the Federal Transit Administration. OUC is assisting in the procurement of charging stations and batteries and expects to glean data on battery performance.
Electric battery buses, said Mayor Dyer, will help “transform Orlando into one of the cleanest cities in the nation.”
OUC shares the mayor’s vision, which includes an aspirational goal of achieving 100% renewable energy generation by 2050. On Oct. 14, OUC leadership announced a plan to transition to clean energy while reducing and ultimately eliminating the use of coal by 2027 and the use of natural gas by 2040. Management’s proposal, which is subject to OUC Board approval, supports OUC’s goal of reaching Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050, with interim goals of 50% emissions reductions by 2030 and 75% emissions reductions by 2040 from 2005 levels.
Promoting and supporting the electrification of transportation are key to OUC’s CO2 emissions reduction goals. Among the investments OUC has made to increase EV adoption are the installation of charging stations throughout Orlando and a commitment to spend $45 million on programs that promote the electrification of transportation.
Recently, an OUC-led partnership with the City of Orlando, Orange County and Power Electronics, the maker of EV charging equipment, received a $500,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to build an EV charging station in downtown Orlando. With up to 22 Level 3 charging stations, the Robinson Mobility Recharge Hub will be the largest of its kind in Florida, with the capability to power up all types of EVs.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation.
OUC Board President Cesar Calvet and Linda Ferrone, OUC’s Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, attend e-bus unveiling.