DART unveils first electric bus

    The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, or DART, is run jointly by Des Moines area local governments. (Photo courtesy of DART)

    The DART transit organization in Des Moines plans to test seven electric buses on Route 60 running west of downtown later this year, and unveiled the first one this week. 

    The route along University and Ingersoll avenues will be the focus of a project supported by a $1.45 million federal grant and a partnership with MidAmerican Energy.

    Elizabeth Presutti, CEO of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, said in a statement the electric buses could save operating and maintenance costs. The electric buses cost more up front, $863,000 per bus compared with $494,000 for a diesel model. 

    The Proterra buses have zero emissions and each spare the atmosphere 230,00 pounds of greenhouse gases per year when they replace a diesel model. They also are much quieter.

    DART’s electric buses will begin operating this fall as 100 drivers learn how to operate them. The new buses will begin running Route 60 later in the year. The buses are supposed to run 150 to 230 miles on a charge.