CATS Celebrates Launch Of Battery Electric Bus Pilot Program On Earth Day

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CATS, the City of Charlotte, and eTransEnergy held an event together on Friday celebrating the launch of the new Battery Electric Bus (BEB) pilot program.

Officials say the pilot program is the first step in a full transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet.

The program also allows CATS to collect data and assess vehicle performance while operating on identified City of Charlotte Corridors of Opportunity throughout the greater Charlotte metro.

Officials say the 12-18-month pilot program is part of a public-private partnership between CATS and eTransEnergy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy.

Approved by the Charlotte City Council in 2021, officials say CATS received its first BEB in December of that year.

In March of 2022, officials say CATS began service on its first BEB vehicles on Route 16 South Tryon and Route 5 Wilkinson Boulevard/Sprinter.

“We appreciate working with CATS and the City of Charlotte to advance the city’s clean energy future,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer. “Fleet electrification is a key component of our own clean energy transformation goal to reach net zero by 2050, and we look forward to working together on this pilot and eventually on newer and more exciting ways to lower carbon emissions here in our beautiful hometown.”

CATS says over the course of the pilot program it has received a total of 18 BEB vehicles from two manufactures: Gillig and New Flyer.

CATS was awarded a Low or No Emissions Grant which is funding six of the 18 buses, according to a news release.

Officials say the other 12 buses are funded through CATS’ Capital Investment Program.

The pilot program supports the Strategic Energy Action Plan, which officials say sets a community-wide goal for Charlotte to become a low carbon city by 2050.

Officials say the pilot program also received technical support through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, an effort to resource cities to take strong action to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change and impact public health.

“We are doing something in Charlotte to be admired and praised,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “Our commitment to the Strategic Energy Action Plan really makes a difference. Our city fleet and facilities have a goal to be powered by 100% zero-carbon sources by 2030. That is really significant as a commitment to this community, and I know we have much more to do, but this is an important step.”