Chris Lakin

Pittsburgh Electric Bus Proposal


Met with the CFO and board 2021 January 15. They like the idea and are looking into how they could make the funding work. They’ll get back to me in a few months. Mainly, this is something to consider for future years as battery prices fall, though it’s marginally economical today.


Electric buses offer financial and environmental advantages. Pittsburgh Port Authority is aware of this, so as of this year they are testing the use of electric buses in their fleet. Even though an electric bus is currently expected to be approximately cost-identical to the average Pittsburgh clean-diesel bus over its lifetime, the upfront cost of electric buses is substantially greater than that of the clean-diesel fossil-fuel buses Port Authority would otherwise purchase. Hence, Port Authority’s 2020 and 2021 electric buses were partially financed via grants.

Because electric buses offer advantages, and because in the near future they can be expected to be cheaper over their lifetime than clean-diesel, it is worth finding a strategy to finance future electric bus purchases. One such method is to lease the batteries (as the battery is the most expensive component of an electric bus). Thus, as the capital cost of electric buses falls, Port Authority should consider financing the batteries of future electric buses that will be purchased. This will remove the financial obstacle that is expected to continue to preclude electric bus integration for many years, allowing Port Authority to both save money and support our environment.

See the full proposal here.

Posted 2020 November 13, last updated 2021 January 22.