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The First Step to Battery Electric Muni Buses

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Starting in early October, the SFMTA will take a big leap forward in implementing its Sustainability and Climate Action Program by installing nine new charging stations at Muni Woods Division to power the agency’s first battery electric buses after significant progress in battery technology in recent years. The project will kick off the pilot program to determine the SFMTA’s future charging methods for new zero-emission e-buses.

A battery electric bus turns from Mission on to South Van Ness

A battery-electric bus turns from Mission on to South Van Ness

To find out if battery electric bus technology is ready for San Francisco, the SFMTA is implementing an 18-month battery-electric bus pilot program. The SFMTA will procure three 40-foot buses each from three different manufacturers to test their performance in revenue service for 18 months. The first three battery electric buses are expected to arrive in spring 2021 as part of the pilot program.

Questions remain about whether battery electric buses can handle San Francisco’s heavy transit ridership and hilly routes. Before deploying battery-electric buses, they must deliver the same reliability and service as our current hybrid-electric and electric trolley bus fleets.

As of 2018, 45 percent of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the transportation sector which is heavily reliant on carbon-intensive fossil fuels. This reliance on harmful fossil fuels is changing the earth’s climate and contributes to extreme weather events, increased fire risk and sea level rise. The SFMTA is a leader in providing safe and sustainable transportation options as it continues to implement its Sustainability and Climate Action Program.

The SFMTA’s energy-efficient Muni fleet contributes less than two percent of the transportation sector’s emissions and moves approximately 700,000 people every day. Today, the SFMTA operates the greenest transit system of any major city in North America.

The Woods Bus Yard where the new charging infrastructure will be installed.

The Woods Bus Yard where the new charging infrastructure will be installed.

Electric Bus Pilot Program

The installation of the new chargers will take approximately nine months to complete. In addition to the battery-electric bus chargers, the updated infrastructure includes electrical support equipment, such as switchgear, switchboard, transformers, power cabinets and conduit.

  • Construction hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Bus operation at Woods will operate as usual without interruption.
  • Work will be contained in the bus yard and will not impact traffic or transit service to the public.
  • Measures will be taken to control noise and dust during work hours. 

Installing these chargers is the first step in making the greenest transit fleet in North America even more environmentally sustainable. Battery electric buses will further reduce harmful emissions and air pollution.

For more information on electric mobility, please visit SFMTA Electric Mobility Page