Cities around the nation are phasing out heavily-polluting diesel buses. In many places, they're replacing them with zero-emissions electric buses. But Charlotte Area Transportation System plans to stick with fossil fuels for now, and convert its 300-bus fleet to compressed natural gas. If the plan goes through, Charlotte won't meet the City Council's goal of eliminating carbon emissions by 2030.
By: David Boraks
"Right now, the electric bus is a budding new growth industry, but they have not been able to prove to me, at least, that those vehicles can be utilized in a heavy duty transit environment," Lewis said.
So Lewis and CATS are proposing to begin converting the fleet to compressed natural gas in two years. Lewis said it's cleaner than diesel. But environmentalists say it's still a fossil fuel. Shannon Binns, of Sustain Charlotte, says there are "legitimate concerns" over the limitations of electric buses, but he's worried Charlotte isn't planning ahead.
"There's there's a lot of cities across the country, including L.A. and New York and San Francisco, who have made serious commitments to transitioning their bus fleets to 100 percent electricity. We haven't seen the city's 2030 zero carbon policy be translated yet into what that policy looks like for individual agencies like CATS," Binns said.
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