For health and environmental reasons, electric vehicles – including transit buses – are the wave of the future.
The Rogue Valley will welcome a demonstration of an electric bus next week. Electric buses are rapidly replacing the heavily polluting buses of the past. They drastically reduce the polluting emissions of a gas-powered bus. They are quiet and odorless. A full bus takes 40 cars off the road. This has a significant effect on both traffic congestion and parking availability. Citizen groups have been clamoring for this clean transportation for years; now it is finally being implemented.
January 10-13, a 40-foot, 35-passenger ZEPS (Zero Emissions Propulsion System) bus from Complete Coach Works will visit Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass. The demonstration includes a technology demonstration and an introduction to what clean renewable energy transit can bring to the Rogue Valley. The bus will tour each city, offering residents a free ride along the way. (See tour schedule below) Representatives from Coach Works will accompany the bus to educate visitors and answer questions about the many advantages of this clean mode of public transportation.
In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation, (at 29%), ranks second only to utilities (33%) in its contribution to overall U.S. emissions. Fully 95% of the emissions from transportation come in the form of carbon dioxide so any reduction in these emissions can have a huge impact. Commuters are a large reason why suburban households are the greatest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions since, unlike inner city and rural residents, they travel back and forth on a daily basis, often by car.
Furthermore, because public transit contributes only about two thirds of the emissions per passenger mile travelled as does the private automobile, this imbalance could be redressed by increased use of public transit, especially if the buses are electric. Electric buses, such as the Zero Emissions Propulsion Systems (ZEPS) buses of Complete Coach Works emit substantially less greenhouse gases than the other transportation systems (Diesel, Diesel hybrids or CNG) even under current conditions. If powered by renewably generated electricity, the advantage would be zero enormous.
Additionally, according to the EPA, the health benefits of just one electric bus can reach as high as $55,000 per annum in health savings compared to the conventional diesel bus. Since the average life expectancy of a bus is 12 years, this means each bus produces two thirds of a million dollars in health benefits.
The ultimate destination of the ZEPS bus is Grants Pass where it is under consideration for purchase by Josephine Community Transit. Neighboring cities, Ashland and Medford, have been added to the demonstration schedule en route to Grants Pass to take advantage of the visit.
Backed by widespread community support, the federal Department of Transportation awarded a grant totaling nearly $3.5 million to buy and deploy five “zero-emission” electric buses for Eugene in 2015. In Eugene, the Transit District expects to save $42,550 in fuel costs each year compared with diesel-electric hybrid models. Grants Pass is now ready to acquire an electric bus and three different bus companies are being considered.
In Ashland, the Transportation Commission plans to hold a special meeting in early February dedicated to transit within Ashland. Consult the City’s Website for details. This is an open invitation to envision the future together with the Commissioners. Their regular meeting on March 23 will have transit as the major agenda item.
The bus that will be demonstrated has a capacity of 35 passengers. Its range is up to 150 miles per charge so the bus can go round trip Medford-Ashland, from Ashland to the airport, and round trip Medford-Grants Pass without needing to recharge. For a small city such as Ashland, Coach Works also offers a trolley alternative to a large bus in keeping with the unique character of the city. (See trolley photo)
GENERAL INFORMATION for this bus:
- Range is up to 150 miles per charge. Capacity: 35-passengers
- Able to make two Grants Pass – Medford round trip runs without having to recharge.
DEMO BUS SCHEDULE:
JANUARY 10. ASHLAND Visit. All stops will include information, rides and Q & A with Complete Coach Works personnel
8:00 – 9:45 a.m. ScienceWorks, 1500 E. Main Street, Ashland
10:00 –11:45 a.m. Mountain Meadows Clubhouse
855 Mountain Meadows Drive, Ashland
12:00 – 1:45 SOU Campus- Stephenson Union. General Public Welcome. 1250 Siskiyou Blvd. Ashland
2:00 – 3:45 p.m. Ashland High School, Auto Technology Program. Regular class
4:00 – 5:45 p.m. Chamber of Commerce. 110 E. Main Street (in front of CC Office/Starbucks) Ashland.
JANUARY 11. MEDFORD Visit. RVTD time with bus.
JANUARY 12 & 13. GRANTS PASS Visit.
Bus will make several trips each day on the Grants Pass/Medford route.