CATS to roll out electric buses this year

    Looking to reduce costs and replace aging diesel buses, the Capital Area Transit System is joining with other transit agencies across the country to incorporate battery powered electric buses into their fleets.

    CATS recently spent $2.8 million for three electric buses from Los Angeles-based BYD, the largest battery-electric bus manufacturer in North America, and will begin field testing the vehicles later this year.

    “Electric buses are a big step forward,” CATS Board President Jim Brandt says in a statement. “They represent a chance to pilot new technology in Baton Rouge, and we are very excited about that.”

    The buses have zero emissions and cost roughly $1 less per mile to operate than typical diesel buses.

    CATS plans to run the electric buses on three lines: Plank Road and Florida Boulevard and perhaps, says Brandt, Nicholson Drive. Each vehicle can operate for approximately 150 miles on a single charge and hold up to 32 passengers.

    “These buses will allow us to see how we can use electric buses to reduce the impact of our fleet on our environment and also control costs,” CATS CEO Bill Deville says.

    CATS began exploring the use of electric buses several years ago, asking UNO in 2015 to do a cost-benefit analysis on alternative fuel options. The study recommended CATS transition to electric buses for the long term.

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