Airport Business

FEB-MAR 2018

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LAND SIDE 10 airportbusiness February/March 2018 By Joe Petrie A Jolt of Sustainable Movement Electric buses are lowering costs and reducing emissions at some of North America's fastest growing airports. Transit agencies are moving quickly towards full electrification of their fleets and Horton said airports are now on the heels of that change for the same reasons. "Airports are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience," he said. "They also know that they want to be leading on climate and other emissions reductions and with better electric buses, they are, real- ly, for the first time, able to get a vehicle that can do all of the work that they need, deliver a great customer experience and do it very cost effectively." AN APPEALING OPTION Electric buses are appealing to airports because the cost of batteries has decreased, Horton said, so an electric bus has dropped from $1.2 million to about $700,000, making it competitively priced while the technology has matured so it can now be used on any type of route an airport could think to use it on. Federal funding sources like the VALE Grant and the FAA ZEV program can finance the cost of buses and charging equipment. Indianapolis International Airport (IND) launched electric buses as part of its shuttle bus fleet in 2017. Five more will be added in 2018 and another three in 2019, which will bring the total electric bus fleet to nine for the airport. Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said the entire bus fleet will be electrified as it will lower the airport's carbon footprint by about 15 million pounds per year. Rodriguez said the airport will save 66,000 gallons of diesel fuel on an annual basis. Coupled with maintenance savings, IND will see a $2 million annual saving by using electric buses to transport travelers. Rodriguez said communities want leaders to be good stewards of the environment, so it's important for the airport to respect those needs. "We started looking at things at the airport a little bit differently. Less through a financial equation lens and more towards a public value lens," he said. "If we align with what our com- munity wants, who actually owns the airport, we have a strategic win." IND was able to purchase six of the electric buses after it was awarded $2.6 million ZEV grant in 2016. It collected another $1 million in ZEV funding in 2017 to purchase three more of the units. Built by Complete Coach Works, the buses are remanufactured units using a traditional bus chassis, which is completely stripped down and rebuilt. Seven plug-in areas were installed to recharge the buses at the end of their shifts. "They can handle about 120 miles, which gives us an eight to 12 hour shift," Rodriguez said. "Once they're done, they go into their little area, they get plugged in and in about six hours, they're ready to go again." Horton said airports are looking to use elec- tric buses for rental car shuttles and parking lot shuttles, so travelers would be met with a quiet, modern bus as opposed to a loud diesel bus spewing emissions at them. Some airports are also looking to implement for employee shuttles and some are now looking at electric buses for airside operations as well. "For most airport operations, they're looking to use a vehicle that can run all day and charge M att Horton, chief commercial offi- cer for Proterra, a manufacturer of electric buses, said the tech- nology is used in some capacity at more than 100 transit agencies in North America, so it's a proven mode of transportation with lots of examples for airports to look at when considering it. Indianapolis purchased remanufactured buses with engines in them as part of a plan to increase onmental sustainability. Airport Authority

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