Electric buses get a boost from state, SWEPCO
Scott Ferrell Shreveport Times USA TODAY NETWORK
Shreveport’s cutting-edge electric bus fleet got a boost — a fast-charging one at that — on Thursday from the state and SWEPCO.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Chuck Carr Brown were in Shreveport to
announce a $200,000 grant from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. SWEPCO added $150,000 in matching funds. The money has been used to purchase a fast-charger and associated infrastructure for SporTran’s five electric buses.
“We will not be successful as a community unless we have those collaborative approaches,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said.
SWEPCO External Affairs Manager Michael Corbin said, “We look forward to working with fleet managers in our area to add electric vehicles and secure charging infrastructure throughout the region.”
The electric buses have a range of 200 miles per charge. Presently, buses need four to five hours to charge for a two-hour run time. That number drops to 30 to 45 minutes with the fast-charger.
The fast-charger should keep more electric buses on the roads of Shreveport providing the city with both financial savings and more environment friendly buses. The city’s five electric buses save the city $150,000 annually.
“This public-private partnership between SporTran and SWEPCO not only lowers the cost of operating public transportation in Shreveport, but it also helps Shreveport achieve a cleaner, healthier environment,” Edwards said. “SporTran leads the way in the state and in the South when it comes to electric vehicles.”
SporTran was the first public transportation system in the state to use electric buses. The early start also helped SporTran build the state’s
The electric bus program for the city was done by design.
“It’s a commitment to clean energy,” SporTran CEO Dinero Washington said. “It’s something the city made a while back. But it’s also a federal push. We did receive a federal grant to get these buses so there are also the federal partners who work with us each and ever day.”
Washington said because SporTran has been on the cutting edge, other cities have inquired about the program.
“We get calls all the time from people wanting to come in and see the buses and how they operate,” Washington said. “I think it’s going to have a huge impact. I hate to say we’re a testing ground, but we looked at some of the other things. When the technology got to the place where it was comfortable bringing to Shreveport, when we can get 200 miles from a bus, that’s simple.”