The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) engaged MJB&A to help the agency prepare for the electrification of the County’s fleet of 391 fixed-route transit buses, which are currently all diesel buses. For this project MJB&A was tasked to determine the financial and operational changes required for MCTS to transition to electric buses, to include:
Full electrification of the MCTS bus fleet could begin as early as 2025, with the entire fleet converted to battery electric buses as early as 2040. MJB&A recommended that MCTS implement in-route charging if pursuing full fleet electrification, which would require an additional $159 million in capital funding (nominal $) compared to continued replacement of retiring buses with new diesel buses, or an average of $10 million per year for aggressive electrification by 2040. Net operating cost savings are projected to be $1.7 million per year, or a total of $27 million between 2025 and 2040. Fleet electrification is projected to produce significant annual savings in bus maintenance and fuel costs, but these will be offset by additional costs for charger maintenance, mid-life battery pack replacements, and bus operator labor. For MTS, fleet electrification using in-route charging is projected to be significantly less expensive than depot charging. While in-route charging will incur higher capital costs for charging infrastructure, and higher operating costs for charger maintenance, bus operator labor, and electricity, there will be significantly lower capital costs for bus purchase, and lower operating costs for mid-life battery pack replacement.
The report developed by MJB&A also provides recommendations for a near term electric bus pilot program, to include electrification of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) route, scheduled to start operations in 2022.