The new NexGen battery-electric trolley buses Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is purchasing might leave people wondering how a bus with trolley poles can be motoring down the road on its own power without a trolley wire in sight. Here are five things to know about the new buses:
The cost: RTA will buy 26 of the buses for about $1.2 million now and 15 more when federal funding can be lined up. The $57.4 million contract with Kiepe Electric of Georgia for buses and parts is the largest bus contract in RTA history.
The battery:This is not your grandfather’s battery. The NexGen has a 3,000-pound Lithium Titanate Oxide battery with a 12-year lifespan that can power a fully loaded bus at full speed for 15 miles off wire.
Bang for buck:The NexGen trolley bus has a lifespan of 18 to 20 years and 800,000 miles. It costs 63 percent more than a standard diesel bus but lasts longer, is cheaper to operate, is better for the environment and quieter, said Mark Donaghy, RTA executive director.
Testing: RTA tested four prototypes of the NexGen — which is short for Next Generation —before deciding on the electric-battery version. The first production bus arrives in about 15 months and then RTA hopes to get two a month after that.
Old bus retirement: RTA will eventually retire its fleet of Electric Trolley Inc. buses, which have been on the road since 1998 and plagued by multiple problems over the years.
RELATED: A High-cost Laboratory
Other vehicle technology stories by Lynn Hulsey