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Philadelphia introduces 25 new electric buses, claims largest zero-emissions fleet on East Coast

Philadelphia’s local transportation authority introduced 25 new all-electric buses this week, and the organization claims it now has the largest zero-emissions bus fleet on the East Coast.

SEPTA — the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority — introduced 25 new Proterra electric buses this week that it purchased with funding from the federal Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and Pennsylvania Act 89.

The buses will be used on two routes in South Philadelphia, SEPTA said in a release.

SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel told NBC 10 Philadelphia that the electric buses mark a return to zero-emissions routes, as they were previously operated with trackless trolleys.

Knueppel also said that between the 25 new e-buses and 38 trackless trolleys, SEPTA now has the largest zero-emission bus fleet on the East Coast. Some may not be willing to count those trolleys, but even a bus fleet with 25 electric buses ranks at or near the top of East Count cities in that regard.

That title may not last long, however. New York City only has 10 electric buses in its fleet as of April, but the country’s largest city has said it will add 65 more electric buses before the end of the year, and 500 more within the next five years.

SEPTA will get another set of electric buses next year, as well. By next year, the agency’s SEP-TAINABLE 2020 plan will have added more than 1,000 hybrid diesel-electric buses to the fleet, making up 95% of the total fleet.

Electrek’s Take

Though New York City looks to pass Philly in the near future when it comes to electric buses — and probably for good — as we’ve mentioned a number of times, this is the kind of competition we like to see.

If you’re stretching that competition out to all of North America, Toronto is planning on adding 60 all-electric buses to its fleet by early next year.

SEPTA’s plan to add more than a thousand hybrid buses to its fleet will be completed next year, and while that’s an improvement from straight diesel buses, we hope the agency doesn’t settle for that as it moves into the future.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: