Sun Tran to add 19 electric buses & more charging stations; fleet on track to eliminate diesel by 2028
Sun Tran will purchase 19 electric vehicles and ten charging stations as part of the company’s plan to have all electric and compressed natural gas buses by 2028.
Tucson’s transportation system announced the addition of the electric vehicles to its fleet in a press release Monday. The expansion of the company’s electric fleet will be funded with a combined $15 million from a Federal Transit Administration grant and money from local entities like the City of Tucson, the release said.
“We are honored and humbled that the FTA and our partners support these efforts for clean transit in Tucson,” Sun Tran’s General Manager Steve Spade said in the release. “This grant will make history by allowing Sun Van to launch its first set of electric vehicles. It also doubles Sun Tran’s electric fleet and makes new service options possible.”
The transportation company will add ten electric buses to its fleet and seven electric Sun Vans, according to the release. Charging stations will also be added, including five installed at the company’s North Yard and four specifically for Sun Van, which provides service for residents with disabilities. The process to receive all the vehicles and install the chargers normally takes two years, Cindy Glysson, Sun Tran’s spokesperson wrote via email.
The last charging station and two additional electric vehicles purchased will service Sun Tran’s new route to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, the company said. The route has not been finalized, however, it will be accessible for employees of Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, the Catalina Foothills School District and nearby businesses, Glysson told the Sentinel.
“The plan is for the new route to interchange with Sun Tran routes 5, 8, 9 and 37 at the Udall Transit Station, and provide a new fixed route shuttle service along Sabino Canyon road,” she said.
The company’s efforts to go electric go back several years. The transit system began a yearlong pilot program for electric buses in 2019, followed by a rollout of five buses last September, the first public transportation system in the state to do so, according to the release.
The company currently has ten electric buses, five of them being in service, Glysson wrote. The fleet’s number of buses totals more than 253. However, the transit system is on track to meet its 2028 goal of replacing all its diesel buses, she said. Sun Tran plans to continue seeking out electric vehicles through grant-funding.