Electric buses expand in Chattanooga

An electric bus sits on display outside Chinese electric carmaker BYD Company’s new North American headquarters in downtown Los Angeles Oct. 24, 2011, indicating the growth in electric vehicles in use in the U.S. Chattanooga officials have just announced an expansion of that city’s electric bus fleet with buses that can re-charge wirelessly

The bus system in Chattanooga has a grant to buy three buses that are expected to vastly expand the range of electrically operated public transit in the city.

A $2.5 million federal grant announced Thursday will be used to buy new electric buses that can recharge in minutes and operate all day on city streets at about 20 percent of the cost of diesel buses.

The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority says the technology allows bus drivers to park over induction coils in a garage or buried beneath a street and recharge the batteries wirelessly in a few minutes, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Electric buses that require switching out batteries have been running on a downtown loop for years in Chattanooga.