The Chicago Transit Board has awarded a $32-million contract for the purchase of 20 Proterra electric buses. Proterra, which has manufactured e-buses for over 60 transit agencies and other clients across the US, won the contract following a competitive bid process.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has been testing two electric buses since 2014 – the e-buses have handled Chicago’s weather well, and have saved the agency some $24,000 in fuel costs and $30,000 in maintenance costs annually.
CTA expects to begin receiving the first Proterra buses by the end of 2018, and will put them into service on the #66 Chicago route, one of its busiest. CTA will monitor the performance of the new buses and use the information to guide future modernization of its fleet, which includes more than 1,800 buses.
The contract with Proterra also includes the installation of five DC fast charging stations at Navy Pier, Chicago/Austin and CTA’s Chicago Avenue garage.
“The purchase of these 20 new electric buses represents a new path for Chicago’s public transit, one that is greener, healthier and more efficient for all who live and visit our great city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“CTA is at the forefront of pursuing new technologies, including electric buses, which have performed very well, exceeding expectations and providing reliable, comfortable transportation to our customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.
Meanwhile, the city of Chicago has selected Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build a new “Loop” high-speed transit system between O’Hare airport and downtown. The RFP called for a system that could cut the hour-long trip down to 20 minutes. The Boring Company says it will reduce travel time to about 12 minutes, using EVs s traveling at over 100 mph in new twin underground tunnels. The company will finance the project itself and recover its costs through fares.
“Each vehicle will carry up to 16 passengers, plus their luggage, and will depart from O’Hare and from Block 37 as frequently as every 30 seconds,” said Musk. “The Boring Company plans to charge fares below the RFP requirement that this premium service should cost less than current taxi and ride-share services.”