Proterra brought one of its electric coaches to Missoula for a demo in 2014. (Dennis Bragg photo)
Mountain Line General Manager Corey Aldridge says it will be 12 to 18 months before the new buses are delivered. (Dennis Bragg photo)
MISSOULA - After exploring the idea for three years, Mountain Line is pressing ahead with plans to add its first electric buses.
Mountain Line managers have been tracking the development of electric buses since 2014, when they invited maker Proterra to bring one of its commercially viable coaches to Missoula for a demonstration.
Then, last fall, the Associated Students of the University of Montana took the plunge into electric buses, adding its first Proterra coach to the UDASH fleet in September.
Now, Mountain Line General Manager Corey Aldridge tells us the transit system has been awarded a $500,000-Low-or-No-Emission-grant to purchase two of its own buses.
“Our Board of Directors has been really focused on ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint and improve air quality in the community," Aldridge said. "The main way we can do that is through electrifying our buses, and so we have been looking for funding opportunities and are really excited to have received this grant.”
Unlike the two UDASH buses, which make regular circuits over a “fast charge” pad, the Mountain Line buses will be recharged at the transit headquarters and able to run a route all day on a single charge.
It will be 12 to 18 months before the new electric buses are delivered.