While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr
                                While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr

While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr

County set to test long-range electric buses

The buses would be able to travel more than 140 miles without recharging.

King County Metro Transit will begin testing long-range, battery-powered buses that can travel more than 140 miles on a single charge.

The buses will be tested on longer routes that include steep hills. If the test is successful, the buses could be used on around 70 percent of Metro’s bus routes.

As part of the test, various manufacturers will provide 40- and 60-foot battery powered buses for the performance test. The county will be testing buses before selecting a manufacturer to contract with. The test is part of Metro’s plan to deploy new zero-emissions busses in South King county as well as operating a no-emissions fleet by 2040. Part of this includes purchasing and using green buses as well as installing a high-powered charging station at a base facility. One station is based on the Eastside in Bellevue.

The announcement also follows a report on the environmental benefits of electric buses, which was released this summer by the Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. The release said buses cost less to maintain and can travel four times the distance per gallon than diesel-fueled buses.

This means that a full transition to electric buses in Washington state could avoid nearly 90,000 tons of pollution each year, equivalent to taking more than 17,000 cars off the road. The county plans on purchasing 120 all-electric buses by 2020 in an effort to meet its 2040 goals. The county’s fleet includes roughly 1,400 buses, many of which are hybrids that rely on diesel and electricity.

In previous coverage, the Seattle Weekly found that due to declines in electric vehicle battery costs and improvements in quality, governments using electric buses saved around $30,000 per bus each year compared to diesel-powered buses.

The report also said that exhaust from diesel-powered buses can cause breathing problems and worsen diseases like asthma. Diesel buses can include benzene and formaldehyde.

Additionally, a 2017 report found that King County Metro buses consumed around 10 million gallons of diesel annually and accounted for 80 percent of emissions from the county government.

More in News

Photo courtesy of King County Parks
                                Trailhead Direct returns April 20 with new routes.
Trailhead Direct returns with more routes

Transit-to-trails returns April 20.

Issaquah begins work to address findings by the State Auditor’s Office

Issaquah council approves contract with a third party to address financial operations issues.

EvergreenHealth seeks to secure funding through a voter-approved bond measure that would pay for critical upgrades at the Kirkland medical center. The Family Maternity Center was last renovated in 1996 and officials hope to modernize the space for new families. Kailan Manandic/staff photo
EvergreenHealth seeks support in upcoming ballot measure

The health system is asking for local voters to approve a bond measure of $345 million over 20 years.

Jim Pitts stands on walkway overlooking filtration chambers at the King County South Filtration Plant in Renton. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Human waste: Unlikely climate change hero?

King County treatment plant joins effort to counteract effects of carbon dioxide.

King County purchases 24.6-acre parcel to restore creek and salmon habitat

King County has progressed their land conservation effort with the purchase of a 24.6 acre property.

IHS students walkout to protest racist post on Wednesday with a sign that says “Change is More Than a ReTweet.” Madison Miller / staff photo
IHS students walkout to protest racist post

Over 200 IHS students walked out of class Wednesday, sharing messages of intolerance to racism, hope for a better future, and a call for change.

Advocates hold a rent control rally in Olympia on Feb. 27, the day before Oregon passed legislation capping rent increases and prohibiting no-cause evictions. Photo courtesy of Amy Tower/Tenants Union of Washington State
Would rent control work in Washington?

Oregon’s new law could lay the blueprint for other states

Most Read