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Environment and Outdoors

4 electric buses acquired for southern Maine routes

Four electric transit buses will soon be driving routes in southern Maine.

Greater Portland Metro and Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit purchased the buses using state and federal funding. Greg Jordan, executive director of Greater Portland Metro, says the two buses it will deploy in May will help the organization meet its goal of zero emissions by 2040.

"And so on the transit side, not only is using transit part of the strategy for combating climate change, but transitioning our fleets, which heavily rely on fossil fuels today, to electric energy, is also going to be a step in that direction," he says.

Jordan says Greater Portland Metro will ultimately need to replace all 44 buses in its fleet, and he's hoping the price of electric buses will come down. Currently, he says, they cost around $900,000 each, nearly double the cost of gas-powered buses.

But before purchasing more, Jordan says Metro will evaluate how the first two buses fare in Maine's cold winters, which can significantly impact their range.

"Under perfect conditions, one of these buses could run about 300 miles in a day. And we need our buses to run between 200 and 300 miles in a day because they run all day long, of course. But on the coldest days of the year, they're not going to be able to achieve those ranges," he says.