More Electric Buses are Coming to San Diego
On September 17, 2020 the MTS Board of Directors approved the agency’s Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) transition plan to get the bus fleet to all zero emissions vehicles by 2040. The plan will fast track the purchase of 17 vehicles over the next two years (ahead of the state mandate to start purchasing vehicles in 2023), including the agency’s first 60-ft articulated electric buses.
MTS currently has thirteen electric buses in service.
The transition plan is expected to help further reduce the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from current levels.
Electric buses expanded throughout San Diego County! Look out for the electric buses around San Diego County as we progress to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet.
Throughout the program, buses will rotate to different routes across the system. The frequent rotation will give more riders the opportunity to ride the new vehicles, and will allow MTS to continue monitoring the vehicle/battery performance on a variety of route topographies, distances, times of day/temperatures and more.
On October 19, 2017, the MTS Board of Directors unanimously approved a multi-year Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Pilot Program. The decision builds upon MTS’ strong track-record of operating one of the cleanest public transit fleets in the United States.
Currently, the entire MTS fleet of 40-foot and 60-foot buses use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which is one of the cleanest and most affordable fuels available. The agency purchases renewable biogas for its entire fleet, further reducing the carbon footprint of MTS buses. In addition, MTS also operates 130 zero-emission light rail cars.
The nearly $13 million Pilot project was designed to support MTS in complying with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Initiative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation, and to better understand the technology as it operates within MTS's jurisdiction, and develop a transition plan/roadmap to 100% ZEB transition. The ICT requires that all California transit systems transition to ZEB technologies by 2040. MTS brought its draft plan to the public in summer 2020 (view the public workshop and Q&A). Following that meeting, the plan was updated to fast-track more electric vehicle purchases in 2021 and 2022, prioritize vehicle rollout in disadvantaged communities and more. The MTS Board approved the agency’s updated transition plan and CARB's rollout plan in September 2020, which CARB then approved the rollout plan in December 2020.
About the Pilot Program
MTS’ ZEB Pilot project assisted in providing an analysis of how ZEB technologies operated for MTS’ transit system, and assisted in determining the longer term impact on MTS with for the new ICT regulation. The ZEB Pilot Program included:
- Partnered with the consultant Center for Transportation & the Environment (CTE) that had experience and technical expertise in analyzing and deploying zero emissions buses and related technologies.
- Electric bus procurement
- Operation and data collection of the electric buses in MTS service area for a period of up to two years (ended December 2021)
- Detailed analysis and reporting of cost and performance, identification of infrastructure needs and development of a roadmap from pilot to full deployment of ZEBs.
In the partnership with CTE, MTS developed the scope, design and requirements for the ZEB program. In addition, CTE assisted MTS with oversight of the pilot implementation, operation, analysis and reporting ZEB performance challenges and successes. The initial pilot included eight (8) Battery Electric Buses from New Flyer Industries and Gillig that included the following deliverables:
- Modeling, and simulation of routes operating from each of MTS’ depots
- Infrastructure upgrades to support charging infrastructure and/or fuel cell technologies
- Grid and electricity capacity and consumption analysis
- Training requirements
- Operation data collection, monitoring, and analysis
- Analysis of operational and capital cost components
Zero Emissions Bus Program Project Scope
The MTS ZEB Program began phasing electric bus deliveries that started with the Pilot in October 2019.
The ZEB program links below will continually be updated throughout the progress of MTS's transition to a 100% zero emission fleet.
- Bus Procurement
- Charging Infrastructure
- Project Budget
- Project Schedule
- Data and Analysis
- Informational Resources
On July 21, 2020, MTS held an online public workshop with 200 attendees to present their draft plan to transition the bus fleet to zero-emissions over the next 20 years. If you missed that meeting, you can watch the presentation recordings below (in English and Spanish). Public comments were accepted through Tuesday, September 8, 2020, and were shared with the MTS Board of Directors. The MTS Board of Directors approved the draft transition plan at the September board meeting.
View Questions & Answers (submitted during public workshop)
By 2040, MTS will phase in the purchase of zero-emissions vehicles, with the final CNG buses being purchased in 2028. Below is an example of what the fleet composition is expected to look like through 2040.