San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has purchased six Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses (40 foot – 12 meter length) and three 60 kW Proterra plug-in chargers. SFO thus joins a growing list of airports across North America transitioning to electric buses for airport ground transportation.

The new Proterra battery-electric buses, equipped with 440 kWh batteries, will reduce Bay Area emissions and support SFO’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2021 while cutting its bus operating costs.

Proterra Catalyst E2 electric

San Francisco International Airport to reduce footprint

SFO has ambitious plans in place to reduce its carbon footprint. SFO’s Five-Year Strategic Plan sets goals of carbon neutrality across airport-controlled operations by 2021 and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from a 1990 baseline, says Proterra in a press release.

Part of that plan includes the creation of a Clean Vehicle Policy to promote the adoption and deployment of low emission vehicles by both airport departments and ground transportation providers.

Proterra electric buses for SFO ground transportation

The new battery-electric Proterra Catalyst buses will replace six diesel buses in its current operating fleet and will eliminate more than 23 million pounds of greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions over the 12-year life of the vehicles, according to the manufacturer. SFO expects to purchase additional battery-electric buses to replace its CNG vehicles, for a greener, more modern fleet.

The new electric buses will integrate batteries that are designed and manufactured at Proterra’s Silicon Valley headquarters in Burlingame, California, very close to the airport. With 440 kWh of battery capacity on board, the buses will be part of SFO’s fleet that currently provides buses to shuttle passengers between the terminals, long-term parking garages and other airport locations along daily routes.

Airports buses going green in US and Europe

Many airports all around the US are moving toward electrification of ground transportations. In California, Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and Silicon Valley’s Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) belong to the group. Beyond California, five additional airports across the country have chosen Proterra electric vehicles for their ground transportation needs, including Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and Honolulu International Airport (HNL). New York airport recently ordered no less than 18 Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses.

18 Proterra electric buses for New York airports

In Europe, the same choice was taken by Schiphol and Bruxelles airports: both of them have already taken over several BYD electric buses. 30 vehicles are deployed in Bruxelles.
In the UK, Birmingham Airport has awarded Volvo Bus UK the contract to supply the airport with six Volvo 7900 Electric. The buses are scheduled to start operation in November 2019. They’ll be employed for free passenger transport service via all airport car park routes.

Volvo to supply 6 electric buses to Birmingham Airport

Airports and sustainability

“San Francisco International Airport has long been a leader in sustainability and joins other forward-thinking airports around the country in transitioning ground fleets to 100 percent battery-electric buses,” said Proterra CEO Ryan Popple. “We are proud to help one of our local airports offer superior service and meet its sustainability goals while also providing reduced vehicle maintenance costs and lower total cost of ownership.”

“Earth Day serves as a call to action; an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to the environment,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “SFO is an airport industry leader in sustainability, and we have set big goals to achieve zero net energy use, zero waste, and carbon neutrality. By deploying San Francisco’s first public battery-electric buses, we’re on the path to zero emissions in our ground transportation services, leading the way in our quest to be the world’s most sustainable airport.”


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