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.