Craig Jacobsen, a technician at Everett Transit, demonstrates the charging process for the new electric buses. The new system takes about four hours to charge the batteries. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Craig Jacobsen, a technician at Everett Transit, demonstrates the charging process for the new electric buses. The new system takes about four hours to charge the batteries. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Everett Transit debuts first electric bus

By 2022, half of city buses will run on electricity, saving fuel and maintenance costs, agency says.

EVERETT — The first electric bus rolled into service last week on Everett Transit’s busiest route. Another three are expected to be navigating city streets by the end of the year. The electric bus, the agency’s leaders say, will provide significant savings over the long run.

“We’re projecting that over a year we will save 10,000 gallons of fuel per bus,” said Brock Howell, Everett Transit’s customer service and community engagement manager.

By 2022, Everett Transit expects about half its fleet to be electric. Early estimates, Howell said, suggest switching to an electric bus could cut fuel costs up to 76 percent and maintenance expenses nearly in half compared to a diesel counterpart.

Upkeep costs will decrease in part due to the newness of the vehicles, but also because electric buses have fewer moving parts compared to vehicles with a combustion engine.

The savings could come in handy as Everett Transit faces a budget shortfall. To balance its books, the agency recently proposed cutting service and doubling fares.

The electric buses added to the fleet this year will be used on Route 7, which runs almost the entire length of the city from College Station to the Everett Mall via downtown and the Everett Station.

A $3.4 million grant from the federal government plus a city match of nearly $600,000 paid for the four new vehicles. The buses can travel at least 250 miles between charges. It takes about four hours to recharge the batteries.

The 42-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 buses seats 31 and can carry at least another 18 standing passengers. Tackling hills, the vehicles have a top speed of 59 miles per hour with a 5 percent grade and on grades of 10 percent the buses can go up to 40 miles per hour.

The buses will also be quieter for passengers and neighborhoods the buses pass through, Howell said.

The new vehicles are replacing the oldest buses in the fleet, some of which have been on the road for more than two decades.

“We are replacing the most polluting buses,” Howell said.

Everett Transit estimates that taking four diesel buses off the road will reduce the agency’s carbon monoxide output by 4,000 pounds each year and lower the amount of particulate matter released into the atmosphere by 500 pounds each year.

“This will be a measurable improvement in air quality for residents along Route 7 on Broadway and Evergreen Way,” according to city documents.

The new buses will be powered by electricity from Snohomish County PUD, 98 percent of which is from hydropower and other carbon-free sources.

Next year, the second set of electric buses is scheduled to arrive and will be used on Route 6, which connects the Port of Everett to downtown and the Everett Station.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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