FlixMobility, a transit company that operates electric buses on several intercity routes in Europe, has teamed with motorcoach operator MTRWestern to explore the possibility of launching a new electric bus line in the Pacific Northwest. The planned FlixBus route will stop at Seattle, Portland, Corvallis and Eugene, and the companies hope to begin service sometime in 2022.
FlixBus has been operating an electric motorcoach on a route between San Francisco and Sacramento since 2019. MTRWestern currently runs diesel buses on the Seattle-Eugene route.
Flixbus’s electric bus recently made two pilot trips from Seattle to Eugene, with a three-hour charging layover at Portland’s Electric Island. The pilot was designed to illustrate the route’s viability, but additional high-voltage charging stations that can accommodate large vehicles will be needed to make the electric buses a regular option. At present, Electric Island is the only charging station with the space and infrastructure to charge the buses.
“We would love to be running electric buses up and down I-5, but the infrastructure is just not there yet for mass transit,” said Todd Paulson, Director of Operations for MTRWestern. “To run something like this, we need more of these stations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Today we had a full charge in Seattle, and we were at 30% when we got to Portland.”
“Since our entry into the US market in 2018, FlixBus has believed in the potential of the US intercity bus system,” said Pierre Gourdain, Managing Director of FlixBus USA. “With this project, we continue our path of providing sustainable and affordable mobility to ensure that intercity buses are central to the green mobility revolution.”
Source: Portland Tribune