by Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Transit System

San Diego’s South Bay will be home to the region’s first overhead electric bus charging system, with more expected to come over the next year, according to Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) officials.

Officials announced Thursday the beginning of a large-scale charging system for electric buses. 

A $8.5 million overhead gantry charging system would be installed in the first phase of construction, with the capacity to charge two-dozen battery-electric busses at a time.

A fleet of 12 electric buses will use the Electric Iris Rapid route. This electric fleet comes as a part of the Zero Emissions Bus Pilot Program which aims to have Every MTS bus be electric by 2040.  According to MTS officials, the South Bay Location was selected because of its high ridership. 

The charging system would charge the existing fleet of electric buses. 

“That is the goal and this is the very first step, the big milestone to achieve that,” said Grecia Figueroa, an MTS spokesperson. “This is the first division but as in two years, we’re going to see that happening in other places in the county, and by 2040, all of our buses here in San Diego are going to be all-electric.”

The MTS Board of Directors approved the agency’s plan on Sept.17, 2020, to get the bus fleet to all zero-emissions vehicles by 2040. The plan is expected to help further reduce the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent from current levels. 

MTS officials anticipate construction to be completed by May 2023. The last diesel bus was retired in February 2021, and MTS will purchase the last gas-powered bus in 2028. 

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