Thanks to funding from Volkswagen, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) was able to purchase three 40’ Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses.
The electric buses were revealed by RIPTA last week, along with the announcement that Rhode Island had received $14.4 million in funding from Volkswagen. According to RIPTA, a large portion of the Volkswagen funding would be invested in clean transit, with the intention of replacing approximately 16 to 20 diesel buses with brand new, zero-emission electric buses.
Rhode Island is one of the first states to secure funding from the Volkswagen AG diesel emissions settlement, with their recent acquisition of three Proterra Catalyst electric buses standing as a milestone that represents one of the first applications of said Volkswagen funding. The electric buses will be heavily tested before they are put into service while staff are trained in the maintenance and charging of the vehicles.
Scott Avedisian, CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, addressed the milestone in a recent press release:
“We are joining other forward-thinking transit authorities that are already employing electric bus technology. We travel the state, and having a greener fleet is important to the neighborhoods we travel through – particularly urban areas with known air quality issues. Taking the bus rather than commuting alone in your car is good for the environment. Taking an electric bus is even better.”
Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra, added:
“We believe Rhode Island is one of the first states to use VW settlement funds to deploy battery-electric buses and has set an example for other states by committing the majority of its funds to zero-emission transit. We’re proud to work with RIPTA to provide electric buses that will offer Rhode Island passengers — particularly those in areas that suffer the most from harmful diesel emissions — a quieter, more comfortable ride and a cleaner environment.”
After helping to install electric vehicle chargers along the Ohio Turnpike last week, we’re glad to see Volkswagen continuing on with their plans for electrification. If the German automaker is able to keep up the recent momentum they’ve built, we suspect they might have a promising future in the ever-growing electric vehicle landscape.