Via Transit Talks – 4/22/2021 (Updated)

During Via’s ‘Go Big, Go Electric’ Transit Talk, Frank Bruno, CEO, shared that Via’s new Strategic Plan will guide how Via will expand its paratransit and public transit services while being financially and environmentally sustainable.

Currently, Via has 4 electric HOP buses; three new Proterra buses, and a repowered 2004 diesel that was converted by Lightning Systems. Via’s goal is to have an entirely electric HOP fleet by 2030 and plans to convert their entire fleet to net-zero emissions. In addition, the City of Boulder has grants for three more battery-electric buses that haven’t been purchased yet.

To reach net-zero, Via plans to create an onsite microgrid to produce electricity through clean renewable solar energy to power 15 electric HOP vehicles and their building, eventually expanding this microgrid to power their entire operation.

Funding is the biggest obstacle to converting an entire fleet of vehicles from fossil fuels to renewable energy. While federal grants traditionally cover 80% of new capital expenditures, the funding for electric vehicles is more competitive it is unlikely that these grants will cover such a large portion of the new buses. Via is launching a Net Zero Fund to secure the required funds.

The panel also included guests from Boulder Valley School District, CU Boulder, the City of Boulder, and Microgrid Labs. It was extremely interesting how Boulder Valley Schools, Boulder, and CU were going all-in on as much solar electricity as they could.