Despite Buying a ‘Lemon,’ Juneau, Alaska, Is Not Done with Electric Buses

  • It is really not quick retaining metropolis passenger buses up and managing, in particular in cold climates. Swap out the diesel for electrons, and you’ve obtained a new established of troubles, like minimized assortment and slower charging times.
  • Juneau was the initial metropolis in Alaska to invest in an EV for its bus fleet, but repeated problems with a wiring harness have usually held it sidelined. Manufacturer Proterra stated it is doing the job on a much more strong harness for the city’s bus.
  • Even with this EV velocity bump, Juneau has purchased one more seven electric buses. This time, nevertheless, they will be produced by Proterra competitor Gillig.

Colder climates can be a obstacle for a lot of electric autos to accomplish effectively in, but it can be not just the temperature leading to challenges for Juneau’s general public transit system. The Alaskan money announced in 2021 that it would include a 40-foot, all-electrical passenger bus to its fleet, but the zero-emission design has recurring mechanical troubles that drive Cash Transit to park the bus in the garage for weeks on finish.

This variation of Proterra’s electric bus is likely to the metropolis of Victoria, British Columbia.


The situation is a faulty wiring harness that the transit agency has consistently tried out to deal with but in some cases still disables one of the bus’s two motors. Alaska Community Media (APM) studies that the bus’s maker, Proterra, still requirements to provide Juneau with a substitution element.

Even now, electric buses are coming to Alaska. Even though Juneau was the initially to buy an EV for its bus fleet, the town of Anchorage analyzed an electric bus in 2018. Lesser municipalities which include Ketchikan and Metlakatla have also announced ideas to insert electrical buses to their fleets.

Variety Dropped with the Temperature

When Juneau’s lone electric powered bus was in a position to ferry passengers all around city, motorists and city managers sang its praises. As may possibly audio familiar to electrical passenger-vehicle motorists, bus drivers liked the quieter ride, and the bus required fewer upkeep. In frigid weather, however, the 440-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery’s 210-mile assortment dropped to 100 miles, and the battery took more time to charge. Cash Transit superintendent Prosperous Ross told APM that the faulty harness and other challenges are not putting Juneau’s transit authority off electrical buses.

“There is certainly going to be understanding curves alongside the way,” Ross said. “So though this bus has been a lemon—somewhat of a lemon—we also realize the technologies is enhancing in leaps and bounds as time goes on.”

Proterra agrees.

“With the introduction of any new know-how, we anticipate there to be some learning curves alongside the way,” the corporation told Automobile and Driver. “These learnings permit us to boost goods. In this circumstance, we are operating to structure and supply a a lot more sturdy harness to assistance Juneau’s bus.”

Juneau’s faulty bus is a 2020 model, and in 2022 Proterra declared that its 40-foot ZX5 electrical transit bus could be outfitted with a 738.-kWh battery.

“This more recent product or service is now the chosen alternative for municipalities in northern climates to buffer versus the additional heating specifications of excessive chilly-weather conditions days,” Proterra claimed.

gillig ev bus

Gillig electrical bus.


Money Transit has now purchased seven additional electric powered buses, but this time they will appear from one of Proterra’s competition, Gillig. Gillig also created the 17 diesel buses made use of in Juneau’s fleet. Gillig’s electrical buses are already in use in sites with extreme wintertime weather, like Missoula, Montana. The corporation declared past month that it had acquired the highest-at any time rating for a battery electric powered bus, 89.5, at the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus Take a look at Program in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Mainly acing that trustworthiness examination meant that Gillig’s e-buses could qualify for purchase with federal funding dollars. Gillig has also announced that 45 transit businesses across the region would use dollars presented in component by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Expense and Work opportunities Act to invest in Gillig’s small- and no-emission buses. The Proterra bus remains in Juneau’s fleet.

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