Mayor Madeline Rogero and others celebrated the purchase of Knoxville’s first all-electric buses, with an announcement and a ride on the all-electric bus from the selected manufacturer, New Flyer. Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is hopeful that the new buses will begin operating on Route 17 – Sutherland at the beginning of 2021.
Over the past several years, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has been expanding into alternative fuel options, and now 33% of the current fleet are hybrid electric vehicles. The next stage – all-electric vehicles – is a part of the City of Knoxville’s overall sustainability strategy. Programs such as the LED streetlight upgrades, energy upgrades to housing in the Community Development Department, and encouraging biking, walking and transit are all helping Knoxville to reach sustainability goals.
“KAT has played a big role in helping us exceed our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for City operations — 20 percent by Year 2020,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Investing in this new fleet of electric buses builds on this history of sustainability as we embrace the next generation of transit technology.”
With 44% of the community’s emissions coming from transportation – mostly driving – the City continues to invest in transit and encourage people to explore options to driving alone. Knoxville’s increased investment in KAT during Rogero’s two terms has resulted in more frequent and later service on nearly all routes, and a 12% increase in ridership.
“We are grateful to Mayor Rogero and Council for their support in improving transit service in Knoxville,” says Doug Lawyer, Chair of the Knoxville Transportation Authority. “It is exciting to see the positive public response to this increased investment, which benefits Knoxville both from an economic and environmental standpoint.”
The new all-electric vehicles will operate on one of Knoxville’s most diverse bus routes. The Route 17 – Sutherland goes from downtown through UT, Mechanicsville, and Marble City to Bearden and the Forest Heights neighborhood. Along the way, the route serves graduate students, seniors, high school students, and a large contingent of Knoxville’s diverse refugee community, providing access to groceries, schools, and a variety of services.
Electric Vehicle Statistics:*
- Reduction of 100 – 160 tons of greenhouse gas per year compared to a 40’ diesel bus
- Save up to $400,000 in fuel costs over the 12-year life of the bus
- With no engine, transmission, intake or exhaust, customers can save up to $125,000 in maintenance costs over the 12-year life of the bus
*Statistics provided by New Flyer