TCAT Unveils Electric Bus Fleet

It was a cold and blustery April day at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on Ithaca’s Common.  Over 50 people were admiring a brand new TCAT bus sporting the electric bus logo.

TCAT General Manager Scott Vanderpool was on hand to answer questions.  He said that he doesn’t know what the change in operating costs are going to be, but “it's going to be significantly less operating costs due to many factors, maintenance factors, and fuel factors...I would say that it would be at least a 40% difference”

While these buses cost about $1 million dollars each, Vanderpool Vanderpool said that part of the costs for four buses came through the Volkswagen civil settlement in 2017.  Volkswagen had violated the Clean Air Act by providing incorrect information to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Vanderpool added that other funders included the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, and Cornell University.

By 2035, TCAT plans to turn 100% its fleet electric. Vanderpool said, “You know,  I'd like to say despite a horrible year of 2020 for everybody, we're still on track to be our full fleet, the battery electric by 2035.”

Proterra, a California based company, designs and manufactures electric transit buses. A representative from the company says that these new sleek buses feel a lot like the buses people are familiar with. 

Proterra also says that these buses are in large part American made: “We are really proud to say we're 70% Made in America. So we're always looking for ways to keep over supplies and vendors in the US.

Keep your eyes out for brand new TCAT buses.  You’ll see the electric bus logo on front and back.


Co-produced by Fred Balfour and Hailey Aldrich.