King County Metro signs contract with GILLIG to purchase electric buses

King County Metro Transit has established a five-year contract with GILLIG to purchase battery-electric buses (BEBs), which will help to continue the agency’s transition to a zero-emission fleet.

The contract with GILLIG includes an initial $111 million order of 89 BEBs. The contract is for the procurement of up to 500 vehicles. King County Metro will have the option to purchase up to 395 buses through this contract, with the remaining coaches made available for purchase by other regional transit agencies.

“With these new additions to our fleet, community members, customers and operators will benefit from cleaner air as we continue to take action to fight climate change,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Acquiring these battery-electric buses moves us closer to our goal of being one of the first large transit agencies in North America that is 100 percent zero-emission. We look forward to welcoming the new buses to King County and introducing them to our routes and riders.”

“As we continue our transition to a zero-emission future we are excited to partner with GILLIG,” said King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison. “Our new buses will have an expanded range, which is vital in prioritizing reliable service so that riders choose to ride our system and leave their cars at home. The purchase will benefit the region in reducing greenhouse gasses now and over the next generation.”

The GILLIG buses purchased will have a 686kWh battery capacity, which increases the zero-emission service range King County Metro is able to provide. GILLIG also received the highest-ever score for a BEB from the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus Test Program. During more than 15,000 miles of testing, the GILLIG battery-electric bus required only 15.2 repair hours of unscheduled maintenance. Comparatively, other BEBs tested during the past seven years have each needed, on average, 72.3 hours of repair time to complete their testing.

The vehicles will join the current fleet of 51 BEBs already in service. They will also be the first buses to have King County Metro’s new colors that will be a mix of electric yellow and seafoam blue.

Earlier this month, King County Metro celebrated the launch of Interim Base, where these new buses will be maintained and charged. Tukwila,Wash., was intentionally chosen as the location for Interim Base — and for the South Base Test Facility that preceded it — so that the next-generation clean air buses would serve communities in south King County, where air pollution is currently higher than elsewhere in the region.

“We are proud to support King County Metro in their industry-leading transition to the first fully zero-emissions fleet in America,” said GILLIG Vice President of Sales Vice President of Sales. “This order is not just a significant achievement for Gillig; it is a testament to the strength of this long-standing customer partnership.”