Los Angeles Metro bus with bike rack

Can LA become the Detroit for electric buses?

With more and more transit agencies buying electric buses, at least 10 companies in greater Los Angeles — including BYD, Ebus, Proterra, and New Flyer — are making and selling the new vehicles.

“We’re basically becoming the Detroit of electric transportation,” said Jeff Joyner, co-chair of the E4 Mobility Alliance. “We had the supply chain from the aerospace industry. So those same engineers and those same companies that were supplying motors and various capacitors and technologies related to batteries are now supplying this advanced transportation industry,” he added.

The companies are competing to serve agencies like the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CA), which plans to convert its bus fleet to 100% electric by 2030.  Metro expects to spend about $100 million a year on new buses despite declining ridership. “The buses are 75-80% of the ridership in transit in L.A. today,” said John Drayton, head of vehicle technology at Metro. “And even as we’re building out our rail lines, the most those rail lines get to is about 30% of our ridership. But the bread and butter of Metro transit is going to continue to be the bus fleet.”  Link to full story in KCRW.

Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman

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