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‘Glimpse of the future’ goes bust: Philadelphia’s entire electric bus fleet has disappeared – $24 million squandered as 25 low CO2 buses now deemed unusable


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the deep-blue cities that’s been priding itself in leading the charge against climate change for years now. Back in 2016, they decided to establish a position as an early adopter of electric vehicle technology on a large scale to reduce their carbon footprint. The city purchased 25 electric buses from a company called Protera at a staggering price tag of nearly one million dollars apiece and put them into operation. But barely four years later, every one of the buses had been pulled from service and is deemed unusable. What went so horribly wrong to produce such a result? As the Free Beacon reports this week, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

More than two dozen electric Proterra buses first unveiled by the city of Philadelphia in 2016 are already out of operation, according to a WHYY investigation.

The entire fleet of Proterra buses was removed from the roads by SEPTA, the city’s transit authority, in February 2020 due to both structural and logistical problems—the weight of the powerful battery was cracking the vehicles’ chassis, and the battery life was insufficient for the city’s bus routes. The city raised the issues with Proterra, which failed to adequately address the city’s concerns.

The city paid $24 million for the 25 new Proterra buses, subsidized in part by a $2.6 million federal grant.

SEPTA Shows Off Quiet New Electric Bus to Public – The battery-powered, emission-free electric bus is quiet and rides smooth as silk. It will show up on two South Philly SEPTA routes next year. by SANDY SMITH· 7/29/2016