Top Ten Electric Bus Fleets Across the Nation

US Zero Emission Bus Fleet Map
US Zero Emission Bus Fleet Chart

Source: APTA 2019 Vehicle Database

RTD's Electric Bus Fleet

In January 2016, RTD purchased 36 battery-electric buses from BYD Motors to operate the 16th Street Free MallRide service. The Free MallRide stops at every intersection along the 1.2 mile-long mall from Union Station to Civic Center Station, with a total travel time of about 15 minutes. Shuttles run approximately every light cycle during rush hours, and every 3 to 15 minutes all other times. The Free MallRide has over 35,000 boardings on an average weekday and over 10,000,000 boardings per year. 

RTD incrementally deployed these electric buses with the first bus starting service in December 2016 and the last bus starting service in February 2018. As of March 2020, this fleet has traveled over 1.2 million miles (including both revenue and non-revenue miles). Since the buses do not have combustion engines, they are very quiet. Therefore, RTD has equipped the vehicles with noise generators to alert nearby pedestrians of an oncoming bus.

The electric bus fleet is charged overnight at the RTD Platte Maintenance Facility in the RiNo District in Denver. RTD has 30 plug-in depot chargers that take about 3.5 hours to charge each bus. The electricity for these chargers comes from Xcel Energy. In October 2019, Xcel introduced an electric vehicle (EV) electricity rate which RTD has been using since January 2020.

Over the last year, RTD successfully applied for several grants to expand our electric bus fleet. RTD was awarded $2.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle program and $8.5 million from the VW Settlement program. This grant funding will allow RTD to purchase 17 battery-electric buses, which will likely be in service in late 2022 or early 2023. Within the next two years, RTD will also be developing a zero-emission bus strategy as part of Reimagine RTD. In addition, RTD will be hosting the 2020 International Zero Emission Bus Conference in September 2020.

Quick Facts

  • Fleet Size: 36 Battery-Electric Buses
  • Vehicle Manufacturer: BYD Motors
  • Vehicle Length: 45 feet
  • Battery Size: 292 kWh
  • Average Monthly Miles per Vehicle: 1,000 miles
  • Total Cumulative Miles: 1.2 million miles
  • Number of Chargers: 30 chargers
  • Charger Manufacturer: BYD Motors
  • Charging Type: Plug-in Depot Charging
  • Charging Current: Alternating Current (AC)
  • Charger Power: 80 kW
  • Charging Time (20% to 100%): 3.5 hours
  • Noise Generator: Equipped with Noise Generator to Alert Pedestrians of Oncoming Vehicle