New bus

Highland Mayor Penny Lilburn, Planning Technician Angela Tafolla, Associate Planner Ashiq Syed and Assistant Community Development Director Kim Stater tour one of Omnitran's new electric buses on Tuesday, Aug. 10

Omnitrans introduced its first four 100 percent electric-powered buses into service last week, marking the start of a new era for a transit agency that has consistently focused on environmental sustainability.

“Since we introduced the nation’s first hybrid-electric transit bus in 2002, Omnitrans has prioritized enhancing air quality in our region,” said CEO/General Manager Erin Rogers. “Operating our first zero-emissions vehicles is an exciting step toward meeting our state’s clean air goals.”

The agency’s fleet of buses has operated on compressed natural gas for more than a decade, which produce .2 grams of ozone-producing nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) per brake horsepower hour (bhp). Currently, more than 50 percent of the fleet operate even cleaner near-zero emission engines, which produce .02 grams of NOx per bph - less than the average passenger vehicle! Omnitrans’ new electric buses, of course, produce 0 grams of NOx per bph.

The new zero-emissions buses are being utilized throughout Omnitrans’ service area and have a range of approximately 150 miles (approximately 10-12 hours of service); each takes about four hours to charge at one of Omnitrans’ two transit facilities. Purchase of the buses, which cost $1.1 million each, was funded in part by Volkswagon Environmental Mitigation Trust and Carl Moyer Program grants. By 2040, the agency’s entire 174-bus fleet will be transitioned to zero-emissions buses to comply with California Air Resources Board regulations.

One of the new buses was brought to Highland City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 10, to allow the council and city staff to view and tour the bus before that evening's city council meeting.

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