San José Mayor Sam Liccardo today led the commissioning of Mineta San José International Airport’s (SJC) brand-new fleet of 10 battery-electric, zero-emission buses that will transport passengers and their luggage between SJC’s parking lots, rental car center, and terminals. SJC’s deployment is a first for a California airport and among the largest deployments for a U.S. airport. The buses and charging systems were designed and manufactured locally by Proterra, a leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, based in Burlingame, Calif.
“Today, we deployed the largest fleet of electric buses at any airport in the country, as we continue to establish ourselves as a leader in combatting climate change,” said Mayor Liccardo. “These electric buses can help us significantly reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and represent a step toward our aspiration that an electric engine power every shuttle and bus on San José’s streets.”
Funded in part by a $5 million zero-emissions grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the electric buses replace the aging compressed natural gas bus fleet that has been operating at SJC since 2008. The electric bus fleet is anticipated to reduce ozone emissions by 1.1 tons over a 10-year period, which is the equivalent of 50 gas-powered passenger vehicles taken off the roads.
The electric buses are powered by the City’s very own San José Clean Energy source, contributing to the Airport meeting its sustainability goals in conjunction with Climate Smart San José, a City initiative to reduce air pollution, save water, and create a stronger and healthier community.
“SJC is continuing down a green path of enhancing the sustainability of Airport operations as the buses are powered by the City’s very own San José Clean Energy source,” said Director of Aviation John Aitken. “With room for 40 passengers and their luggage onboard, our travelers will enjoy a more comfortable journey between the parking lots and terminals, while having the satisfaction their zero-emissions bus is contributing to cleaner air.”
Each battery-electric bus has zero tailpipe emissions, which helps cut pollution and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The buses were purpose-built to be electric and deliver optimal energy efficiency at a lower operating cost than fossil-fuel combustion engines. SJC joins a growing list of airports (including Indianapolis, New York-JFK, Newark, LaGuardia, Sacramento, LAX and SFO), transit agencies, and universities and colleges, that are making the transition to zero-emission vehicle fleets. To date, Proterra Catalyst buses on the road have driven more than seven million service miles and displaced more than 40 million pounds of tailpipe emissions.
“We are so proud to see these beautiful California-made electric buses deployed here at San José Airport, running on clean electricity which is generated locally,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “You can’t get this done without public and private sector innovators that are dedicated to improving their community with electric vehicle technology that has both economic and environmental benefits. We are so grateful to the City of San José and SJC for their leadership and commitment to clean, quiet transportation.”