Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) Authority has approved the purchase of four Proterra Catalyst E2 zero-emissions battery-electric transit buses and related charging infrastructure. RDU selected Proterra as its battery-electric bus provider citing the company’s sustainability, performance and operational cost-savings excellence. This purchase marks Proterra’s first airport customer and the first airport electric bus deployment in the Carolinas.
“Bringing zero-emission buses to airports throughout North America is an integral part of Proterra’s next stage of growth, and we couldn’t be happier to announce RDU as our first airport customer,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra.
Currently, RDU shuttle buses transport on average 112,166 passengers and luggage per month between the airport’s two ParkRDU Economy lots and terminals with a diesel-powered fleet consisting of 14, 40-foot transit buses that are replaced every 7-10 years. Funded in part by a $1.6 million zero-emissions vehicle grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the new Proterra battery-electric buses will replace four older diesel buses, resulting in the elimination 16.9 million pounds of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of these vehicles.
“The purchase of these four buses demonstrates our commitment to a world-class airport experience,” said Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth. “We are excited about both the sustainable benefits as well as the improved passenger experience these new buses will provide.”
Since the Proterra buses have no combustion engine, riders will enjoy a smoother, exhaust-free ride, experiencing less noise as the bus travels between the terminal and parking lot shuttle stops. In addition to traveler benefits, the operational cost of electricity, at $.19/mile, is substantially lower than diesel, at $.84/mile. Combining this with greatly improved vehicle efficiency, at 21 MPG equivalent, and reduced vehicle maintenance costs will result in a savings of about $1.8 million during the 12-year lifetime of these new Proterra buses. Scheduled to be placed in service in early 2019, the buses will be designed and built at Proterra’s Greenville, S.C. manufacturing facility.
“As a top innovation-driven community in the U.S., the Raleigh-Durham region is home to one of the nation’s largest and most successful research parks, a major center for high-tech and biotech research, and world-class universities. RDU’s pioneering vision to transition from dirty diesel to a zero-emission fleet further fuels the area’s spirit of innovation and demonstrates how Proterra is able to scale our technology, serve this new market and further our goal of providing clean, quiet transportation to all,” said Popple.