University of Montana adding more electric buses to its fleet

Posted at 3:26 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 17:26:46-04

MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s transit system is becoming a big believer in electric buses, announcing the purchase of three more electric powered coaches to be used on campus.

It was exactly two years ago this fall that the Associated Students of UM’s U-DASH transit system unveiled the first two electric buses to campus. Not only were the coaches the first on campus, but the first electric buses in the valley, further inspiring Mountain Line to add its own electric buses in the near future.

The buses are “fast charging”, meaning they can be repeatedly charged throughout the day as they run their loop routes around campus. The buses have proven popular because they are “zero emission”, but are also quieter and lower maintenance. U-DASH says operational costs are “significantly lower” than traditional diesel buses.

“When we launched our first two battery electric buses, it became obvious that we wanted more,” said Jordan Hess, director of ASUM’s Office of Transportation. “We’re saving money, improving our airshed and providing a great rider experience.”

“This is great news for the University of Montana,” said Mariah Welch, ASUM vice president. “These buses will reduce harmful emissions in and around the university. Our innovative student-run transit system was an early adopter of electric bus technology, and we were competitive in this grant application because of the entrepreneurial spirit of our student government.”

The purchase of the three new buses will cost $1.5 million, using a combination of federal grants. They should be delivered in 2020.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News