Sun Tran unveils City of Tucson's first electric bus

Sun Tran, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and the City of Tucson are hosting a demonstration of Sun Tran’s first Zero-Emission Battery Electric Bus at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18. The public and news media are invited to view the demonstration on 12th Street between South Scott and South 6th Avenues, located behind TEP’s downtown headquarters at 88 E. Broadway.
 
The following speakers will present at the demonstration:
 
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
Councilmember Paul Durham
Councilmember Regina Romero
Steve Spade, Sun Tran General Manager
David G. Hutchens, President & CEO, Tucson Electric Power
Bill Fay, Director of National Sales, GILLIG
 
Sun Tran currently has a fleet consisting of Biodiesel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and hybrid buses, but is beginning to investigate the advantages of incorporating all-electric buses with a one year pilot program.
 
The pilot is the first step in the process of the electric bus program. Sun Tran has leased the pilot bus for one year to begin testing the applicability of electric buses. Subsequently, money from a federal grant will be used by Sun Tran to purchase three additional electric buses.
 
GILLIG’s 40-foot electric bus has a battery capacity of 444 kWh and features a low-floor design. The battery electric technology produces zero emissions, promoting a cleaner, healthier environment.
 
“Sun Tran is invested in creating an innovative and smart transportation system,” said Steve Spade, Sun Tran General Manager. “Our passengers can be confident they are contributing to a sustainable community and cleaner air, and that Sun Tran utilizes the latest technology for a safe and reliable ride.”
 
TEP is supporting Sun Tran’s efforts to introduce electric buses into its fleet. For more than a year, TEP worked with Sun Tran to develop an electric bus pilot program. To support the electrification of Sun Tran’s bus fleet, TEP will provide ongoing technical and planning support as well as funds for the bus charging stations and other infrastructure as needed.
 
“We are pleased to partner with the City of Tucson and Sun Tran to support the modernization of our community’s transit fleet with electric vehicles," said David G. Hutchens, TEP President and CEO. “We hope this project promotes awareness of the powerful benefits that electric vehicles can generate for our community and the environment.”
 
TEP and Sun Tran previously partnered on an electric transportation project when the Sun Link streetcar was introduced in 2014. TEP constructed the electrical infrastructure and upgraded equipment to support its operation.
 
Those planning to attend the Electric Bus Demonstration can support the environment by using public transit. The following routes offer frequent service to the downtown area close to TEP:
  • The Sun Link Streetcar which travels between University of Arizona, Main Gate Square, 4th Avenue, Downtown and Mercado District
  • Sun Tran Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 & 25. These routes combined serve most of Tucson.
  • Sun Shuttle Route 421 from Green Valley and Sahuarita
For more information about the electric bus program and how to get to the event via Sun Tran, Sun Link and Sun Shuttle, call the Customer Service Center for Transit at (520) 792-9222 (TDD: (520) 628-1565) or visit suntran.com. For information about TEP’s electric vehicles initiatives, visit tep.com/electric-vehicles/