The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), which serves Florida’s St Petersburg/Clearwater metro area with 40 bus routes and a fleet of 210 vehicles, recently began construction on a new electric bus charging station at a transfer hub.
The new wireless charging station, which PSTA claims will be the first on the US East Coast, uses 250 kW Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) technology from Utah-based WAVE (Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification).
PSTA added two BYD electric buses to its fleet in late 2018, and plans to add four more in the fall of 2020. The e-buses currently charge by using a plug-in charger, which takes about four hours for a full charge. The new technology is expected to reduce charging time by more than half.
Buses are wirelessly charged by a plate embedded in the pavement, as WAVE demonstrates in a short video. The only training drivers will need is how to properly align with the charging plate.
Florida-based A&K Energy Conservation will handle construction and installation. The project’s construction cost of $192,000 was funded by Pinellas County’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement.
“We are excited that this rapid charger will allow our all-electric buses to remain in continuous service throughout the work day,” said Joe Barkley, PSTA Board Chair. “As we add additional all-electric buses to our fleet, this charging system will add dramatically to our efficient, cost-saving electric bus service.”
“This innovative technology is one giant step forward for not only PSTA, but transit agencies across the nation. Being the first electric charging station of its kind in Florida sets the standard of transportation agencies becoming more environmentally-friendly,” said Brad Miller, PSTA Chief Executive Officer. “At PSTA we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint while still providing the best service possible to our community.”