DART Adding Electric Buses

DART will add Proterra Catalyst 35 electric buses to its fleet. (Courtesy DART)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit plans to serve downtown with sleek new battery-powered buses.

The agency in January previewed an all-electric 35-foot Proterra Catalyst bus to identify any design details that may need modifications. Once DART submits its changes, Proterra will build DART’s seven buses to the updated specifications.

DART was the first transit agency to order a 35-foot version of Proterra’s Catalyst electric bus. Previously, the Catalyst series only included a 40-foot vehicle.

“Over the life of the vehicle, a Proterra battery-electric bus will save DART money on fuel and maintenance, which makes electric buses cost-competitive with those fueled by CNG [compressed natural gas] or clean diesel,” Proterra founder Dale Hill said. “Since our buses produce zero tailpipe emissions, DART gets sustainability as an added benefit.”

The seven zero-emission all-electric buses are partially funded by a $7.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program. The grant also helps fund the infrastructure to charge and maintain them.

DART plans to use the electric buses on D-Link, a downtown circulator route subsidized by the city of Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc. This smaller Proterra vehicle will be easier to navigate through busy city streets and reduce noise pollution downtown. The electric battery technology is similar to what is used on the Dallas Streetcar.

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