It’s another first at Metro and in the country: A fast-charging station for battery electric buses debuted at Bellevue Base this week, newly installed in a bay where buses are cleaned and fueled each day.

Having a charging station installed above the service bay makes it unique in North America, according to electric battery bus manufacturer Proterra. The move makes for efficient and effective maintenance and recharging. It also replaces a slow-charge old-school plug that maintenance staff used to use to recharge battery electric buses.

It also was the perfect backdrop as climate advocates released a report on the health benefits of electric buses, and honored County Executive Dow Constantine for his leadership.

Seattle Weekly: King County rolls on with its electric bus fleet plans

General Manager Rob Gannon is proud of how the fleet experts at Metro continue to lead, traveling the country on behalf of one of the foremost transit agencies in the country in size, ridership, and commitment to moving toward zero emissions transit service. We already operate 174 electric trolleys in downtown Seattle, and led the nation in shifting to hybrid buses (1,111 in service today). The pace of technological change has been quite remarkable, and we continue to move toward an all zero-emissions fleet as soon as 2034.

We’re forging ahead with Executive Constantine’s commitment to a zero-emission battery bus fleet by 2040, and working to order 120 battery buses by 2020. To get there, we’re still calling on manufacturers to provide standardized charging and 60-foot articulated buses Metro needs to provide service across King County.

Gannon said: “We want battery buses to help define the public transportation future, and we are taking prudent steps to test extended range buses and assure the necessary infrastructure is in place to successfully transition our fleet.”

With this new charger, Metro now can operate 8 battery electric buses on routes 226 and 241 instead of just the original 3 battery electric Proterras we launched service with. These are all still short range, operating on two routes that loop the Eastside together, but we’re getting close to launching a pilot where we test extended range buses from manufacturers. Stay tuned!

Want to read what climate advocates said, and the report? Visit this announcement page.