Victor Valley Transit brings new battery-electric buses to Barstow

The Victor Valley Transit Authority has delivered five new, zero-emission,  battery-electric buses to Barstow.
The Victor Valley Transit Authority has delivered five new, zero-emission, battery-electric buses to Barstow.

Five new zero-emission battery-electric buses will begin rolling through the streets of Barstow and beyond after Victor Valley Transit Authority officials delivered the vehicles this week.

With an average range of approximately 150 miles between charges, VVTA plans to deploy the five 40-foot Flyer Xcelsior XE buses in the coming days, the agency said Tuesday.

Projected operational savings during the 12-year life of the buses are expected to be more than $125,000 in maintenance savings over conventionally powered vehicles.

The battery-electric buses are another step towards the transportation agency’s commitment to operating strictly zero-emission vehicles by 2035, according to VVTA officials.

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In 2018, the VVTA Board approved a resolution, which included its commitment to operate a 100% all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell fleet and establish a goal to meet this objective by 2035.

The first seven battery-electric buses have been in service throughout the Victor Valley since 2019.

With the opening of VVTA’s new Barstow facility — designed with the future implementation of battery-electric buses in mind and successfully opened during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — the time is right to bring Battery Electric Buses to Barstow, VVTA officials said.

“The move into battery-electric technology is the right move at the right time for Barstow,” said VVTA Board Member and Barstow Council Member James Noble in a written statement. “By procuring Battery Electric Buses, VVTA places itself in a position to have Southern California Edison (SCE) provide all the required electric infrastructure as part of their SCE Charge Ready Transit Bus Program. This alone could save VVTA approximately $1M in the cost of bringing power lines and enough electric power to VVTA’s Barstow facility.”

The California Air Resources Board enacted its proposed Innovative Clean Transit regulation in 2018. In response, VVTA got out in front of the move, taking advantage of the available incentives before actual regulation deadlines, the transit agency said.

Another example of VVTA’s forward-thinking includes VVTA taking advantage of the Volkswagen Mitigation incentive for purchasing zero-emission buses, the agency said.

The Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust provides about $423 million for California to mitigate the excess nitrogen oxide emissions caused by VW's illegal emissions testing defeat devices in certain VW diesel vehicles.

After VVTA applied for these state funds to purchase the battery-electric buses, the agency was awarded $180,000 per each of the five ordered for Barstow.

“VVTA analysts have carefully considered its zero-emissions options, reviewing an enormous amount of research and performance data from several different agencies to address the critical climate and operational challenges in VVTA’s service area,” said VVTA Director of Fleet & Facilities Dustin Strandberg.

“Factoring in all the unique variables, the steep hills, long distances, extreme weather and traffic patterns, we are confident in the package we have selected and the limited number of routes these buses will successfully serve,” he continued.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or Follow him on Instagram @RenegadeReporter and Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Victor Valley Transit brings new battery-electric buses to Barstow