Washington State Agencies Partner on Hybrid Electric Vanpool Fleet

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Pierce Transit, Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) and the Washington State Department of Transportation have unveiled hybrid electric vanpools.

Pierce Transit’s Electric Vanpool Pilot Program will provide eight TPU vanpool groups with a commute powered by 97% carbon-free electricity. The plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica vans will run 32 miles on battery power before needing to be recharged or tap into gasoline.

Vanpool drivers will drive the vans to work, charge them on-site at TPU during the day and drive home on electric power, depending on speeds and total round-trip miles. Vanpool groups selected to use the new vans will arrive at TPU from a variety of locations, including Bonney Lake, Spanaway, Puyallup, Port Orchard and Tacoma. The eight vans will eliminate about 56 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equivalent to 6,000 gallons of gasoline. The switch also reduces greenhouse-gas emissions equal to more than 136,000 miles driven.

“We have the opportunity to lead by example in our community and prove the benefits of a carbon-free commute,” says Jackie Flowers, TPU director. “We know that we need to make changes now to reduce Tacoma’s greenhouse-gas emissions, 73 percent of which comes from fossil fuel-dependent vehicles. Not only will these vans be powered by electricity, by charging here at TPU, they will be powered by some of the cheapest and cleanest power in the country.”

The vans were acquired through a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Vanpool Investment Program, with the state funding nearly 80% of each $42,000 vehicle. If the Electric Vanpool Pilot Program proves successful, Pierce Transit hopes to acquire more hybrid electric vans and offer the program to other customers.

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