Four electric buses a step toward cleaner campus fleet


Four new battery-powered electric buses have arrived on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus as a step in a broader effort to decarbonize the U-M vehicle fleet.

The set, manufactured by New Flyer, includes three 40-foot electric buses and one 60-foot articulated electric bus. The buses will be put into regular service this fall.

An electric bus is estimated to contribute 74% less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard diesel-powered bus. Battery-powered electric buses also typically carry lower energy and maintenance costs over time.

The U-M fleet also includes 29 diesel-hybrid buses and 27 regular diesel buses.

A 40-foot electric bus and a 60-foot articulated electric bus are shown outside the new Dean Road Transportation Center located on North Campus. (Photo courtesy of Logistics, Transportation & Parking)

In preparation for the buses’ arrival, U-M Logistics, Transportation and Parking implemented substantial electric-vehicle charging infrastructure into its new transportation center on North Campus. To date, there are 12 EV charging stations for fleet vehicles on campus, with an additional 20 to come by July 2023.

The electric buses look similar to much of the current fleet, but with decals that read “plugged in for our planet” — intended to help foster a campuswide culture of sustainability and encourage community members to learn more about U-M sustainability efforts.

A duplicate order is scheduled to arrive in June 2024. Supply chain delays and safety recalls by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration had previously delayed delivery of the initial four electric buses.

Decarbonizing the vehicle fleet is a visible strategy in U-M’s efforts to achieve universitywide carbon neutrality. U-M aims to reach net-zero emissions from purchased electricity, known as Scope 2 emissions, by 2025, and to eliminate emissions from direct campus sources, known as Scope 1 emissions, by 2040.

Emissions from campus buses typically count as Scope 1 emissions, although emissions linked to electric buses, because they derive electricity from the outside power grid, count as Scope 2.


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