Contract will secure 10 battery chargers needed for plug-in electric pilot program beginning later this year

The Orange County Transportation Authority board this week approved awarding a contract for 10 battery chargers to support a pilot program testing how plug-in battery-electric buses perform on Orange County streets.

The action is the latest among OCTA’s many efforts to move to 100 percent zero-emission technology by 2040.

The contract with One Source Distributors, for approximately $863,000, will provide 10 battery chargers for the 40-foot buses that will operate as part of the pilot program beginning later this year. The cost of the chargers, which also includes training for those who will operate and maintain the equipment, is paid for through the state’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.

To support charging of the plug-in battery-electric buses, OCTA is also partnering with Southern California Edison to provide necessary electrical infrastructure at the bus operations base in Garden Grove.

In fall 2020, the OCTA board approved a $10.4 million contract with New Flyer of America for the purchase of the 10 plug-in electric buses to begin a pilot program in late 2021. In addition, in January 2020, OCTA began operating 10 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses in a separate pilot program to test that technology, which also produces no emissions.

Both pilot programs will help determine which technology – or mix of technologies – will work best for Orange County moving forward. It’s another important step toward zero-emission transportation technology for a balanced and sustainable future – one that will help bring even cleaner air quality.

OCTA will begin phasing in additional zero-emission buses as part of future bus purchases. Staff will continue to analyze emerging technologies and work with partners to secure funding for purchase, operations and maintenance of zero-emission buses.

The effort aligns with California’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule, a first-of-its kind regulation in the U.S. that sets a goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The Innovative Clean Transit Rule is part of the state’s comprehensive program helping to achieve California’s air quality and climate goals.