IndyGo to use $10M grant for all-electric buses

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IndyGo will use a $10 million federal grant to convert 22 city buses to all-electric power.

The Federal Transit Administration announced the award Thursday. The money comes from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, fund.

“IndyGo is thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the leading edge of the transit industry with the project,” CEO Michael Terry said in a prepared statement. "We’re always investigating innovative ways to refresh our fleet and use technology to build capacity with the limited funds that are available to operate vital transit services.”

Each bus will cost about $550,000 to rebuild, and that's comparable to the price of a brand-new diesel bus, according to IndyGo. The electric buses will have a range of about 100 miles.

IndyGo plans to deploy the buses on routes that fit the range limitations.

The grant will also cover the cost of charging stations at IndyGo's hub and at the downtown Transit Center, scheduled to open in late 2015.

“By introducing zero-emission, post-oil technology public transit buses, we’re making another successful leap in the right direction," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said in a prepared statement.


  • Makes no sense
    It makes no sense to spend that kind of money to retrofit anything. It sounds like a classic case of government money looking for a place to be spent. If it were you or me spending our money, we would ask the question of how long it will take to recoup the investment. Would it be at the other end of eternity?
  • To Brian
    Brian, no need to hurt an insult my was as being narrow-minded. I tend to agree we could do more mass transit, and I'd prefer a rail to Fishers and the airport as the two most obvious solutions. Widening Capitol Ave and College Ave for yet more car traffic is a bad solution. As to the bulk of electrical generation converting eventually to renewables, this is a far way off, much further than the life of these buses. Converting to natural gas is a better option in the interim.
  • Laughable.
    A bus that can drive only 100 miles on a charge is laughable to begin with, but even more laughable is the idea that solar and wind power will ever replace the high power generated in ways that greenies don't like. The commenter who mentioned natural gas is spot on. And so-called "zero emission" power is anything but.
  • Laughable?
    Herm, you can comment the zero-emission, post-oil technology quote is laughable and the fact of the matter is that electric vehicles allow for the possibility of converting their energy source to 100% renewables (converting the electic grid to solar, wind, etc). Further, they put out zero pollution during their daily use...a lot better than gasoline/diesel powered buses can say. So, instead of us complaining about this, let's be happy that IndyGo gets any shot in the arm it can these days. Why is it that there are so many narrow minded folks in this city and state?
    • Retrofit?
    • Use CNG
      IndyGo should switch all of their buses over to CNG (compressed natural gas). It makes sense for fleets that return to terminals each night to refuel. A fraction of the price of diesel fuel and cleaner at the tailpipe. An all electric bus doesn't sound practical, given the range (2-4 hours of driving max?). In my opinion, I would agree that this is a big waste of money, but what else would I expect from the Feds and IndyGo.
    • Colassal waste
      What a waste of money. Why spend $550k to retrofit a bus if that's the cost of a new bus? And the quote, "zero-emission, post-oil technology" is laughable. How do you think electricity is generated to recharge the bus? Or to manufacture the batteries?

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