RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- There are now almost 150 electric car charging ports across Nevada, and this growing number is influencing our local transit.
The Regional Transportation Commission already operates hybrid diesel-electric vehicles. Starting next week, you can eliminate the hybrid label from new regional buses.
The RTC buses may be shades of blue and yellow, but they are all going green.
"This is a demonstrative project for us," said Michael Moreno.
Four new RTC Buses were running downtown's Sierra Spirit route on Wednesday. They are quiet, cost effective and Nevada's first fully-electric transit buses. "As the technology improves, we look at new ways to bring that technology to our public transportation system," explained Moreno.
A $4.5 million Federal Transit Administration grant is bringing these buses to our region. Each one has a life span of 16 years, with each battery lasting up to seven years. The RTC expects to save $1.7 million in fuel and maintenance costs per vehicle.
The agency will spend the next three years determining whether the buses are worth mass investment. "How well they operate, they function, how efficient they are for us and be able to validate the savings that we're looking forward to realizing with these new buses," said Moreno
Buses enter a charging dock at downtown's Fourth Street Station every 12 minutes. They take four minutes to charge as passengers enter and exit.
NV Energy says the RTC is a pioneer for electric vehicles in Nevada. "This is the future," said Travis Johnson.
There are 66 electric charging stations throughout the state. Officials say the trend is growing because these vehicles a low cost and stable. "Now we are starting to see the secondary effect of the first deployment where people are now saying we better get on board and add those as well," added Johnson.
The RTC is inviting the community to see this innovation in person. The new battery-electric buses celebration is happening at the Fourth Street Station at 10 a.m. on Monday.