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On June 13, 2018, the Chicago Transit Board awarded a $32 million contract to Proterra for the manufacture and delivery of 20 all-electric buses. Since 2014, the agency has tested two electric buses from New Flyer and found them to perform well and adeptly handled Chicago’s weather and temperatures.
In addition to lower emissions, the electric buses will offer savings in fuel and maintenance cost. The New Flyer electric buses have saved the CTA $24,000 annual in fuel costs and $30,000 annually in maintenance costs compared to diesel buses purchased in 2014.
At the time of purchase, CTA announced plans to operate the buses on the #66 Chicago and #124 Navy Pier routes.
The contract also includes the installation of five electric quick-charging stations at Navy Pier, Chicago/Austin, and CTA’s Chicago garage. The chargers will allow charging within 5-10 minutes, allowing buses to return to service quickly. Buses can run between 75-210 miles on a single charge.
The first buses were spotted on CTA property beginning in late 2019. The buses were delivered with a plain white exterior and were later wrapped in unique all-blue “Electric Bus” liveries.
Starting in 2020, installation began of the five quick-charging stations. The stations, seen in action on a video posted in early 2021, feature an overhead canopy with a retractable pantograph which lowers to make contact with the roof of the bus.