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Mountain Metro testing electric buses in Colorado Springs

Mountain Metro is testing how well electric buses perform in Colorado Springs as it works toward obtaining a 100% low or no-emissions fleet by 2035.

The trial period will allow city leaders to evaluate whether the buses can still get good mileage and battery life in the different weather and elevation conditions.

If the testing goes well, Mountain Metro said it plans to choose a manufacturer by mid-November and purchase its first three electric buses in 2021. CDOT would provide the funding through the Volkswagen settlement, which is providing Colorado with $68.7 million as a result of a settlement against Volkswagen Group of America for vehicle emissions violations.

Mountain Metro buses currently run on clean diesel, which requires a more efficient engine and exhaust to reduce emissions. While the electric buses are more expensive to purchase, it costs less to maintain and run the vehicles.

Mountain Metro released the following table to explain the cost differences between the electric and diesel buses.

Type of Bus

Initial Cost

Approximate Maintenance cost per year

Approximate Fuel cost per year

Electric

$965,000

$21,000

$18,000

Diesel

$470,000

$35,000

$42,655

According to our calculations, it would take almost 13 years to offset the initial cost of purchasing an electric bus.

KRDO Only 2019

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