First Electric Double-Decker Transit Bus Is Coming to America

(Bloomberg) -- The first electric, double-decker bus to be ordered by a public transit agency in the U.S. is headed for the Los Angeles area.

The vehicle, powered by battery technology from Proterra Inc. and manufactured by the U.K.-based bus builder Alexander Dennis, will join a Southern California transit agency’s fleet next year, according to a statement Thursday. Terms of the transaction with Foothill Transit weren’t disclosed. The companies said the bus marks North America’s first electric, double-decker bus order for a public transit agency.

The order brings a global shift toward battery-powered buses to California’s San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, where Foothill operates routes including express service to Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles. Almost half of municipal buses globally will be electric in 2025, based on Bloomberg NEF forecasts.

“We’re seeing increasing global demand for electric buses that combine high passenger capacity and comfort,” Robert Davey, of Alexander Dennis, said in the statement. Ryan Popple, Proterra’s chief executive officer, noted in an interview that California has been “the leading market for the electrification of mass transit.”

Proterra has sold more than 590 vehicles to 69 municipal, university, airport, federal and commercial transit agencies in 31 states. Foothill, which bills itself as an environmentally friendly bus service, says it plans to operate only electric buses by 2030.

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