Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Fleet Type: Electric Public Busses

 

Narrative

The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) in Baton Rouge is the public transportation provider for the cities of Baton Rouge and Baker and delivers more than 200,000 passenger trips each month. The agency provides service seven days a week, 363 days a year.

CATS has added several electric buses to its public transportation fleet. The FTA awarded CATS a competitive federal grant to fund the electric buses. The nine buses cost the agency $6.8 million, with 85% of the cost covered by a grant from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Grant Program.

Every American-built, zero-emission BYD bus eliminates approximately 1,690 tons of carbon dioxide over its 12-year lifespan, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. The new K8M  electric buses are built by BYD in Lancaster, CA and are 35 feet in length with a 32-passenger seating capacity and 28-passenger standing capacity. These vehicles are zero-emission and powered by a 435kWh LFP iron-phosphate liquid cooled battery that can be fully charged within three hours.

“Adding new electric buses to our fleet contributes to our goal of having one of the most modern and reliable transit fleets in the nation,” said CATS CEO Bill Deville. “Not only do we expect performance to increase, but these buses also aid in reducing carbon emissions so CATS can continue to do its part in creating a cleaner, more environmentally friendly Baton Rouge. These buses are the direct result of our continued focus on aggressively pursuing and securing federal funds to support local transit operations and infrastructure.”

CATS currently owns 9 electric buses which is approximately 15% of their fleet that services Baton Rouge and Baker, they intend to expand their electric bus ownership to be 50% of their 62 bus fleet over 5 years.

Outputs and Outcomes

The Capital Area Transit System in Baton Rouge has achieved positive outcomes and outputs in promoting electrification in Louisiana. According to the “Charging Forward: A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Urban Electric Mobility Infrastructure” produced by the US Department of Transportation in June of 2023, CATS has successfully implemented a project that has improved the region’s sustainability.

The project has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 500 metric tons of CO2 each year and has contributed to improving air quality in the region. In addition, CATS has received recognition for their efforts in promoting electrification in Louisiana. They were awarded the Clean Cities Stakeholder Award at the Clean Cities 30th Anniversary on September 6, 2023, for their outstanding environmental contribution.

Moreover, CATS earned the “Rising Star” award from Louisiana Clean Fuels in 2020 at the annual “Clean Fuels Leader Award. Overall, CATS has demonstrated a solid commitment to sustainability and has achieved positive outcomes and outputs in promoting electrification in Louisiana. Their efforts have had a significant impact on the environment and have helped to improve the health and well-being of the community.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

“We care about reducing emissions and protecting the environment. The more electric vehicles we have, the better it will be for all of us,” said Dwana Williams, CATS Interim Chief Executive Officer.

CATS determined that their future does not immediately hold an fully electric fleet, one major reason why is that they want to keep their diesel buses to ensure they are able to help with emergency situations. In Louisiana, hurricane evacuation is a common occurrence. Having buses that can travel further and have a more widely available fuel source was important to them. Additionally, during emergency situations the buses may be used for needed energy sources, so having buses that are not being utilized for that will be purposeful and effective.

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CATS Fleet Story

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