New York MTA builds critical infrastructure to power ZEB fleet

New York MTA builds critical infrastructure to power ZEB fleet Image credit: NYMTA

The New Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have installed 17 bus charge points at Grand Avenue Bus Depot in Queens. The fast charging systems points are known as autonomous pantograph dispensers because they “dispense” energy through roof mounted arms that automatically connect with the buses.

Work to transform bus depots to support electric buses includes:

  • Building lanes inside depots that are specific for electric buses, and 
  • Restructuring areas to accommodate overhead pantograph dispensers, which charge buses.  

Another 46 autonomous pantograph dispensers are under construction at the Herkimer lot in East New York in Brooklyn and the Charleston facility in Staten Island, to be complete by the end of the year. An on-street pantograph that will serve buses needing to “top off” their batteries between daily runs is almost complete under the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn. 

The $188 million second phase of work will bring 220 additional overhead pantograph charging systems to Grand Avenue and four other depots in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. In addition, several depots will require electric distribution upgrades in conjunction with Consolidated Edison. The contract will deploy multiple charging manufacturers, a sophisticated charge management system to help balance the electrical loads, and a long-term service agreement to help maintain reliable bus charging. 

MTA has set goal to operate a 100 percent zero emission bus fleet by 2040. The 15 zero-emission buses (ZEBs) delivered in 2019 serve routes in Manhattan. MTA has introduced 60 electric buses that will operate in routes in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn. The buses are paid for with $70 million in formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration, including $20 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The buses feature lightweight electric traction drive systems that allow buses to recover up to 90 percent of energy during braking. This regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brakes and maximizes energy efficiency. Buses will park underneath the arms at the Grand Avenue Bus Depot and Central Maintenance Facility in Queens.

The MTA expects to start receiving its next order of 205 electric buses in late 2025. The agencies are also negotiating an option to secure another 265 battery electric buses at six depots starting in 2027, which would bring electric buses to a total of 11 depots. In a historic move, the MTA is collaborating with Consolidated Edison to source new power for bus charging.

Source: NYMTA