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Electric buses expected to roll into county

New low floor, battery electric, zero emission buses will be rolling in to Nevada County within two years.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the purchase of the two 35-foot buses — along with an on-route fast charger, bus yard slow charger and installation — for just over $2.4 million.

According to Transit Services Manager Robin Van Valkenburgh, the fast charger will be embedded in the ground — proposed at the Tinloy Transit Center — allowing it to recharge during layovers.



“It’s not a huge charge, but it equates to about 10 miles per charge, which helps to ensure that the vehicles are able to run routes all day long without the need to go back to the depot and charge up there,” Van Valkenburgh said.

The charging stations will be low voltage and “human friendly.”




“You’re not going to get a shock or have your molars vibrate if you walk across those pads,” he said.

Van Valkenburgh said the new low floor kneeling design will help improve boarding time and ease for wheelchair-bound passengers.

“You’re looking at a five to seven-minute process per wheelchair to board them, get them fully secured, and then get on the way,” he said regarding the current buses. “With the new low floor transit bus, that process can be cut down to 60 to 90 seconds per boarding and alighting.“

The purchase will help meet California Air Resources Board regulations, which would require all of Nevada County’s fleet purchases to be zero emission vehicles by 2026.

Van Valkenburgh estimated the buses could come to the county in 18-24 months.

“That’s good news for our county and so in 24 months, we’ll thank you again,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Dan Miller.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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