The buses will begin transporting passengers to and from the terminal on Tuesday. The Airport has plans to replace its 70 diesel-powered buses with 50 electric buses over the next 7 to 10 years.
“We are excited to begin the next chapter of sustainability for the Airport,” said Haley Gentry, acting aviation director. “These buses are cleaner, more efficient to operate and provide a long-term operational cost savings. It’s a big step for the Airport, but a step in the right direction.”
The five electric buses will result in an annual decrease of about 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel, saving an estimated $90,000. Due to zero emissions, replacing the Airport’s diesel fleet with electric buses will have an annual impact equal to removing 2,900 cars from city streets.
Other electric bus advantages are: 500 percent more efficient than a diesel bus, 50 percent noise reduction versus a typical city bus, 40 percent less parts than a diesel bus and a 90 percent reduction of operating costs versus diesel buses. Passengers will experience a smoother and quieter ride.
The Airport’s move toward electric buses also supports the City of Charlotte’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP), which strives to have city fleet and facilities fueled by 100 percent zero-carbon sources by 2030.
The buses were built by Proterra in Greenville, S.C., its Southeast transportation innovation hub and manufacturing facility. “Transitioning to clean transportation is no longer just the right thing to do for our health and environment, it’s also the smart thing to do for our communities,” said John Walsh, Proterra’s senior vice president. “Proterra is proud to support Charlotte Douglas International Airport in its transition to clean, zero-emission battery-electric buses.”
The exterior design of the electric buses is a big change for CLT as well. The vibrant blue bus wraps contain polar positive and negative circles, electrical charge markings and CLT’s logo on both sides.
CLT has chosen to embrace and incorporate various sustainable approaches into its daily operations, moving the Airport toward a sustainable future. Sustainability initiatives at CLT have included the installation of solar panels, energy efficient systems, electric vehicle charging stations, the use of alternative fuel vehicles and recyclable building materials.
“We want to become a leader in environmental stewardship by implementing sustainability practices that benefit the Airport as well as our local community,” Gentry said. “The Airport is committed in doing its part to help protect the environment and foster a healthier community.”