TRANSIT: Louisville, Ky., rolling out all-electric buses

Replacing trolley car-fleet will save city hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel, maintenance

October 27, 2014

The times are changing in Louisville, Ky., with the governing Transit Authority of River City (TARC) preparing to debut a new fleet of all-electric buses to replace the long-standing trolley car system. TARC plans to have the full fleet of 10 buses roaming the city streets by the end of 2014.


Known as ZeroBuses, the high-tech vehicles emit zero emissions, powered by a two-hour electric charge; in that time, ZeroBuses can cover roughly 30 miles. A full charge can be achieved en route in about 10 minutes thanks to an overhead wireless system linked to a high-capacity charger. TARC said it will build a pair of charging stations, but no timeline was given for those projects.


The 30-passenger ZeroBuses will be phased in to replace the full 20-passenger trolley car fleet. Making the switch will reportedly save TARC more than $100,000 annually in fuel costs and $200,000 in maintenance.  


The agency plans to offer the ZeroBuses as a free service, like its trolley predecessors. Eighty percent of the funding will be covered by federal and state grants, while the remaining 20 percent will come from local matching.