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Press Release10/6/2021

COTA Adds Two New Electric Transit Vehicles to Expand Its Environmentally-Friendly Fleet; Eight More to Arrive In 2022

Today the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) announced the expansion of its environmentally friendly fleet with the addition of its first two new electric transit vehicles, running on several routes daily, in a continued effort to reduce the authority’s vehicle emissions. Following extensive and successful safety and efficiency testing at the most comprehensive vehicle testing lab in the country, the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio, and at the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research (CAR), COTA expects the two new electric transit vehicles to begin service on Monday, Oct. 11.

“Our ambitious and achievable goals are for COTA to be diesel-free by 2025 with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and these electric transit vehicles are the latest step we are taking to make this a reality,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “This is an integral part of COTA’s ongoing evolution of our fleet to ensure we are doing all we can to serve our communities and deliver environmentally responsible transportation solutions that will contribute to the health and prosperity of our neighborhoods.”

COTA recently showcased its new electric fleet to Columbus City Hall employees during an open house with Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA), which also has electric vehicles in its fleet.

“I’m thrilled that COTA and the CRAA are investing in electric buses for the future of our city,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin. “The introduction of these new electric transit vehicles and COTA’s commitment to remove all diesel vehicles from our roads by 2025 are a big deal for Columbus residents. Furthermore, these partners are pushing towards our community’s goal of becoming carbon neutral. By prioritizing affordable, sustainable transit and providing transportation choices, we can get there.”

The two electric transit vehicles from New Flyer are COTA’s formal introduction of electric vehicles into the Columbus Region’s transit operations. Based on test results, which demonstrated a reach of more than 150 miles on a single charge, the electric coaches will now be integrated into COTA’s current system. Among the other tests performed at TRC and CAR were obstacle avoidance, braking performance, interior and exterior noise measurement, energy economy and energy consumption. These also included dynamometer-based tests, which allow for the performance testing of acceleration, gradeability and top speed of the vehicles while stationary.

COTA’s board in September approved the purchase of eight additional electric coaches in 2022, and COTA is also on track to purchase 28 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles each year until 2025, when all diesel transit vehicles will be retired. COTA’s current fleet consists of 234 CNG, 6 diesel-electric hybrids, the two new electric, with just 79 diesel vehicles remaining. Across the country, there only about 700 electric transit vehicles currently in public transit operation. However, as technology and infrastructure continues to improve, at least a third of the country’s 70,000 public transit vehicles will be electric by 2045. COTA will continue to study the feasibility of electric coaches across its fleet.

In addition to its vehicle initiative, COTA has already converted to all renewable sources of energy for the operation of all its facilities.