A prototype of DART’s new Proterra Catalyst 35 electric buses is in town for a visit and a final check.
DART Board members and news media explored the all-electric 35-foot bus parked at DART Headquarters Tuesday afternoon, then took it for a ride around the block.
Agency staff are inspecting the vehicle to ensure it matches what DART ordered and identify any design details that may need modifications. Once DART submits its changes, Proterra will build the agency’s seven buses to the updated specifications.
DART was the first transit agency to order a 35-foot version of Proterra’s Catalyst electric bus. Previously, the Catalyst series only included a 40-foot vehicle.
“Over the life of the vehicle, a Proterra battery-electric bus will save DART money on fuel and maintenance, which makes electric buses cost-competitive with those fueled by CNG or clean diesel,” Proterra founder Dale Hill said. “Since our buses produce zero tailpipe emissions, DART gets sustainability as an added benefit.”
The seven zero-emission all-electric buses are partially funded by a $7.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo Program). The grant also helps fund the infrastructure to charge and maintain them.
DART plans to use the electric buses on D-Link, a downtown circulator route currently subsidized by the city of Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc. This smaller Proterra vehicle will be easier to navigate through busy city streets and reduce noise pollution downtown. The electric battery technology is similar to what is used on the Dallas Streetcar.