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Electric Buses

Metro Transit is developing a Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Transition Plan

Under state statute, the Metropolitan Council is responsible for developing a Zero-Emission Bus and electric vehicle transition plan and revise the plan once every five years (Minn. Stat. 473.3927). The initial plan is due to the Legislature by Feb. 15, 2022. 

The Plan will identify short- (2022-2025), medium- (2026-2030), and long- (beyond 2030) term opportunities, risks, and implementation strategies to transition Metro Transit's bus fleet to zero-emission technology. 

The plan is guided by three principles: 

  • Technical Viability 

  • Equity and Environmental Justice 

  • Financial Impact 

Metro Transit plans to engage interested stakeholders and communities in the coming months. 


ZEB Transition Plan Stakeholder Summit 

Metro Transit hosted facilitated workshops in November. The workshops were held virtually on Zoom. 

Workshop presentation recording: 

ZEB Transition Plan Stakeholder Outreach 

Metro Transit will conduct outreach to neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis and St. Paul in November. If your neighborhood organization is interested in hosting a short presentation and discussion please contact Dan Pfeiffer at dpfeiffer@zanassoc.com or 612-759-1083. 


Metro Transit’s commitment to learning and leading in shift to electric buses 

Metro Transit is committed to reducing vehicle emissions by bringing more electric buses into its fleet. This commitment is reflected in these actions:  

  • The purchase of eight 60-foot electric buses for the METRO C Line.  

  • The development of a Zero Emission Bus Transition Plan that will be completed in early-2022.  

  • The planned purchase of eight 40-foot electric buses that will be used on local routes beginning in 2023.  

  • The inclusion of electric bus charging equipment in the new Minneapolis Bus Garage.  

  • The planned purchase of up to 70 electric buses in 2025, some of which will be used on the planned METRO Gold Line and METRO Purple Line.   

The future purchase and use of electric buses will be guided by several factors, including:  

  • Technology – Battery storage, charging infrastructure, service types and weather all influence where electric buses can be used most effectively 

  • Cost – Electric buses currently cost more than diesel buses; to cover the incremental cost difference, Metro Transit must pursue grant funding opportunities.  

  • Equity – According to the MPCA, air pollution disproportionally impacts communities of color. Electric buses can be a part of the region’s response to addressing disparities.     

Electric buses by the numbers Vehicles Manufacturer: New Flyer of North America, St. Cloud Fleet size: 8 60-foot “articulated” buses Range: <100 miles Cost: $570,000 more than a diesel bus ($870,000), not including charging equipment Top speed: 65 mph 5 onboard 466 kWh batteries  Diesel-fired auxiliary heater to preserve range in cold weather Infrastructure 8 gas-pump style overnight chargers at Heywood Garage 2 rapid overhead chargers capable of 12-minute booster charges Performance 40% range reduction in cold temperatures Chargers have been unreliable, causing service delays In 2020, diesel buses were available 88% of the time; electrics 75% Strong partnership with Xcel Energy to power the electrics, including using renewable energy for overnight charging


Still learning

Bus manufacturers and service providers across the country are at the forefront of the transition to electric vehicles. Metro Transit is proud to be a part of the industry’s shift and believes electric buses will represent a growing share of America’s transit fleet over time.  

Metro Transit was among the first agencies in the country to use hybrid-electric buses. The agency’s first electric buses entered service in 2019, with the opening of the METRO C Line. Challenges with electric bus charging equipment are being resolved so these buses can soon re-enter service.   

As the industry matures and gains experience with electric buses, diesel buses will continue to represent the foundation of Metro Transit’s bus fleet. Fortunately, advances in bus technology have led to improved fuel economy and reduced the level of pollutants emitted by diesel fuel. 


Current fleet 

Currently, Metro Transit’s bus fleet includes:  

  • 523 40-foot diesel buses 

  • 179 60-foot diesel buses 

  • 114 40-foot hybrid-electric buses 

  • 65 coach buses 

  • 8 electric buses 

Buses typically remain in service for around 12 years before they are retired and sold.