With the addition of five new battery electric buses this month, Sun Tran will begin converting its fleet to cleaner fuel sources with support from Tucson Electric Power. The new electric buses will be put into service once construction of the bus charging stations is complete.
TEP is supporting the electrification of Sun Tran’s fleet by covering the cost of the bus charging stations, providing technical assistance and upgrading our equipment and infrastructure. Sun Tran and TEP partnered to secure more than $5 million in federal grants to kickstart Sun Tran’s fleet conversion.
In celebration of the transit system’s journey to reduce carbon emissions and promote cleaner air, Sun Tran will host a public event on September 30 from 9:15-10:30 a.m. at its administrative offices at 3920 N. Sun Tran Blvd. The event coincides with National Drive Electric Week.
“Sun Tran is excited to introduce electric buses in the community,” said Sun Tran General Manager Steve Spade. “These buses represent cutting edge technology in the transit industry focused on energy self-sufficiency and a cleaner environment. In addition to the positive impact on the environment, passengers will appreciate the quiet, comfortable ride the vehicles provide.”
The event will feature vendor booths, rides aboard the new electric buses and comments from TEP CEO and President Susan Gray, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, and representatives from the City’s Transportation and Mobility Department.
Gray said this milestone is the latest in the company’s long history of supporting electric transportation, dating back to 1906, with the city’s first electric streetcar. In addition to supporting the city’s bus conversion, TEP also played a key role in the introduction of all-electric trams at Sabino Canyon, replacing earlier gasoline-powered shuttles.
“We see a bright future for all forms of electric transportation, including individual cars and mass transit options,” Gray said. “As we continue to work toward a cleaner, greener grid with more renewable energy, this is another important way to reduce our community’s carbon footprint.”
Sun Tran’s current fleet of 237 buses includes 137 with diesel engines, 83 that run on compressed natural gas, 11 hybrids and the five new battery electric buses. Five more battery electric buses will join the fleet in 2022 as part of Sun Tran’s planned transition of its entire fleet to battery electric and CNG buses by 2028.
Residents wishing to attend the Sun Tran event must wear a face covering and should park in the employee lot located on the south side of the administration building.