Alexandria’s DASH Transit will be getting six electric buses and fast chargers as part of a $12 million project to fund electric transit projects that also include Blacksburg and Hampton Roads.
“Electric buses are a key component of Virginia’s strategy to address the climate crisis, reduce air pollution in our communities, and drive innovation across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “We are demonstrating how entrepreneurs, government, and industry partners are coming together to implement the best renewable energy technologies available and power the clean economy.”
More than $12 million in state funding for the project will include $9 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Trust) that the Commonwealth received as part of its settlement with Volkswagen over the company’s misleading claims about its “clean diesel” cars.
Fuel, maintenance savings
With savings from lower fuel and maintenance costs consistent with electric vehicles of all types, using electric buses is expected to reduce operating costs for transit agencies. The typical useful life of a transit bus is twelve years. By investing in electric buses, over that time, these transit agencies will, combined, eliminate the need for approximately 2 million gallons of diesel fuel and avoid 612,000 tons of carbon emissions and 129,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions.
“This investment in high-efficiency vehicles raises the profile of transit as a smart, environmentally sustainable travel choice and helps power a 21st-century multimodal transportation system that is the platform for Virginia’s economy,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.
A 2018 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists rated Virginia as one of the best places for electric buses based on carbon emission, with electric buses producing less than half of the climate pollution of diesel or natural gas buses.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified diesel exhaust from sources such as transit buses as a major factor in the urban air pollution that disproportionately affects low-income and disadvantaged communities. Electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions and provide clean air benefits to communities that have historically borne a greater burden from fossil fuel pollution.