SEPTA's Path to a Low-Emission Bus Fleet

2002 - 2016

First Hybrid-Electric Bus Fleet

Since 2002, SEPTA has replaced less fuel efficient diesel buses with more efficient hybrid-electric buses. Hybrid-electric buses utilize regenerative braking, which increases fuel efficiency and emission reduction savings. Specifically, hybrid-electric buses have resulted in a 13.4% reduction in fuel consumption fleet-wide. As of 2016, more than 50% of SEPTA's bus fleet were hybrid-electric.

Project Highlights:

  • Reduced diesel fuel consumption by 962,986 gallons
  • 21,118,283 lbs CO2-E

2016 - 2021

525 New Hybrid-Electric Buses

SEPTA has purchased 525 new hybrid-electric buses, the first of which are already in service. By 2021, all of the new buses will be delivered, and hybrids will comprise over 90% of SEPTA's bus fleet. These buses will not only have the same regenerative braking capabilities, but they also include upgraded exterior and interior amenities. Once all of the buses are operating, SEPTA will reduce its emissions by approximately 15,549,624 lbs CO2-E.

25 Electric Buses

SEPTA has purchased 25 Proterra electric buses, which will be delivered in early 2018. These buses will replace diesel and hybrid-electric buses along routes 29 and 79, which will eliminate point source emissions along these routes. Once all of the buses are operating, SEPTA will reduce its diesel fuel consumption by 144,687 gallons and emissions by 2,101,777 lbs CO2-E.

2021 - 2036

Replace Diesel & Hybrid-Electric Buses with Zero-Emission Buses

Between 2021 and 2026, 100 diesel buses and 300 hybrid buses are scheduled for replacement. If SEPTA is able to replace these buses with a zero-emission fleet it would reduce emissions by 50,064,787 lbs CO2-E.

SEPTA has learned from the experience with the pilot fleet of 25 electric buses that significant capital investments were required in order to provide power to charge the vehicles. SEPTA anticipates that in order to integrate additional zero-emission buses into the fleet, similar investments will need to be made.

In order to proactively prepare for additional zero-emission vehicles SEPTA is conducting a facility readiness analysis. The analysis will evaluate current facility energy capacity, energy demand of zero- emission buses, and space demands of charging infrastructure.

Moving forward, emerging technologies must continue to improve to address the following caveats in order for zero-emission replacements to make business sense for the Authority:

  • Decrease in zero-emission bus prices
  • Increased range per charge

Improvements in charging infrastructure If these criteria are met and zero-emission buses become feasible for fleet-wide application, based on a 15-year procurement cycle, the earliest SEPTA could reach a zero-emission bus fleet would be 2036.

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