Duke University Predicts Nearly $1M in Savings from New Electric Bus Duo


Duke University, based in Durham, N.C., is adding two 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses to its fleet.

The school expects to deploy the two diesel-replacement buses on campus in 2020. In addition to the electric buses, Duke will also add an all-electric Chevy Bolt to its parking/transportation services fleet next month.

“Using electric buses is a big step toward reaching our goal of being carbon neutral by 2024,” says Jason Elliott, assistant director of Sustainable Duke, part of the university’s Office of Sustainability. “The buses will be a great way for students, staff and faculty to experience the impact of the work Duke is doing in sustainability.”

Duke will also install two Proterra 60 kW plug-in charging stations with standardized charge ports that can also be used to charge other electric vehicles in the fleet.

Since initiating the university’s climate commitment in 2007, Duke has reduced its campus greenhouse-gas footprint by 24%. However, in the same time frame, Duke has seen a 9% increase in total emissions from employee commuting, air travel and Duke-owned fleets. In order to address the impact transit has on its carbon footprint, Duke plans to buy electric buses moving forward.

The new zero-emission buses will replace two diesel vehicles from the university’s 24-bus fleet, which currently consists of hybrid-diesel and diesel vehicles. The battery-electric buses release zero tailpipe emissions, require no oil changes and use no liquid fuels, notes Proterra. Duke expects to save approximately $924,000 in maintenance, fuel and vehicle costs over the lifespan of the two buses.

“This was an easy decision to make,” says Carl DePinto, director of Duke Parking and Transportation Services.

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