Chicago's electric bus

Amid the roar and rumble of a busy city street, a bus pulls up quietly. It’s one of Chicago’s electric buses, which have been on the road for two years.

Tolman: “The electric buses provide a cleaner, quieter ride that reduces fuel cost and also decreases emissions.”

That’s Jeff Tolman, spokesperson for the Chicago Transit Authority.

Switching to an electric bus is like taking 23 cars off the road, so Chicago’s buses can help fight climate change. They’ll also reduce air pollution and respiratory illnesses.

Although electric buses cost more up front, they provide huge savings in fuel costs. Over the life span of each bus, Chicago expects to save $300,000 on fuel.

Right now, Chicago is testing two electric buses to iron out some of the wrinkles before expanding the fleet. For example, they’re figuring out when and where to charge the buses.

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Tolman: “We have a charging station that fully charges the batteries of the buses overnight, which typically takes about three to five hours.”

Chicago plans to buy 20 to 30 more electric buses in the next few years. If other cities follow their lead, the future will include efficient, quiet, and clean-running public transportation.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...