Photo: Courtesy of City of Greensboro.

Electric buses are quiet and good for the environment.

But that’s not what inspired officials in Greensboro, North Carolina, to add ten electric buses to the city’s fleet. Their motivation was primarily financial.

Fischer: “Transit is a very costly business to run, so we’ve always been looking for how can we operate our system more efficiently, at a lower cost, or keep costs from rising.”

Adam Fischer, Greensboro’s director of transportation, says even after accounting for the higher upfront cost of the buses …

Fischer: “We conservatively think we’ll save $300,000 to $350,000 per bus over the life cycle of an electric bus due to reduced maintenance and operating cost.”

He says the environmental benefits are a bonus. Electric buses do not release harmful tailpipe emissions. And even when they’re powered by non-renewable sources of electricity, they cause less carbon pollution than buses running on diesel or natural gas.

Fischer says by the end of the year, the city will have 16 electric buses in operation. After that, the plan is to keep adding more as old buses need replacing.

Fischer: “We think it’s the future of the industry. We’re essentially all in on electric buses now.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.