RDU Purchasing Four Zero Emissions Electric Buses

RDU Airport, N.C. –The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority approved both the purchase of four zero emissions electric transit buses and the acceptance of an associated Federal Aviation Administration grant today at its regular monthly meeting.


The Airport Authority will purchase four Proterra Catalyst E2 Battery Electric Buses, built in Greenville, S.C., along with associated charging infrastructure for $3.4 million. A $1.6 million zero emissions vehicle grant from the FAA will cover partial costs.


“The purchase of these four buses demonstrates our commitment to a world-class airport experience” said Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth. “We are excited about both the sustainable benefits as well as the improved passenger experience these new buses will provide.”


RDU shuttle buses transport on average 112,166 passengers and luggage between the airport’s two ParkRDU Economy lots and terminals each month. The diesel-powered fleet consists of 14, 40-foot transit buses which are replaced every 7-10 years. The four new electric buses will replace older diesel buses, including two that have logged a half-million miles each.


The new electric buses will eliminate tailpipe emissions, estimated at 16.9 million pounds of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of four similar diesel-powered vehicles. The buses will also run quieter and have quicker acceleration. Each time the bus brakes, the energy created through the braking action will be used to help recharge the batteries. In addition, the cost of electricity versus fuel is lower per mile and there are lower annual maintenance costs.


Customers will enjoy a quieter and smoother ride and experience less noise as the bus approaches the terminal curb and parking lot shuttle stops. This will create a more enjoyable experience during the short ride between the terminals and ParkRDU Economy Lots.


Proterra Buses: By the Numbers

  • 40 feet: Length of the bus
  • 40: Passengers
  • 440 kWh: On-board energy storage
  • 175 miles: Operating range when fully charged (full 8 hour shift)
  • 4 hours: Charge time
  • 5 years: Warranty on the motor and batteries (or 300,000 miles)
  • 12 years: Warranty on the chassis

About the FAA Zero Emissions Airport Vehicle Grant

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Zero Emissions Airport Vehicle and Infrastructure Pilot Program was created in 2012 to improve airport air quality and facilitates use of zero emissions technologies at airports. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of the cost of zero emissions vehicles and associated infrastructure.


About the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and its 300 staff operates and manages Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the primary air travel gateway to central North Carolina. The airport served more than 11 million passengers in 2016, about 30,000 customers every day. RDU is home to more than 5,000 employees and contributes more than $8.5 billion and 20,000 jobs to the region’s economy each year.  The Airport Authority has won the Triangle Business Journal’s Heathiest Employer of the Triangle for the past three years straight and in 2017 was named the best connected medium hub airport by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Aviation.