Miami-Dade goes big on electric buses and charging systems

Miami-Dade County in Florida today announced it has bought 42 Proterra ZX5+ electric transit buses, featuring a total of 19 megawatt hours of battery storage capacity. The county also announced that it will install 75 Proterra chargers across three bus depots. Its first electric buses are slated to be delivered in 2022.

Miami-Dade’s new electric buses and chargers

Its latest purchase brings Miami-Dade’s Proterra electric transit bus total to 75.

Burlingame, California-headquartered Proterra designs and manufactures its products in the US. The 40-foot ZX5+ buses with Duopower drivetrain that Miami-Dade bought has a seating capacity of 40 passengers and feature the following specifications:

Total energy450 kWh
Operating efficiency1.7-2.4 kWh/mile
Operating range163-232 miles
Top speed65 mph
Acceleration0-20 mph in 5.7 seconds,
20-50 mph in 12.8 seconds
Gradability65 mph at 5%, 48 mph at 10%, 31.5 mph at 15%
Max grade27.5%
Horsepower550 peak, 338 continuous
MotorDual independent 205 kW motors
Gearbox2-speed auto-shift EV gearbox
Curb weight29,849 lbs
Max gross vehicle weight rating43,650 lbs
Max plug-in charge rate at 200A132 kW
Max overhead charge rate330 kW
Overhead charging33 miles replenished per 10 min, 2 hours estimated time empty to full
Plug-in charging2.9 hours estimated time empty to full

The fleet charging installation project is one of the largest in North America. It features three depot locations, each equipped with 25 120kW chargers at each location, for a total of 3 megawatts (MW) at each site and 9 MW across the three sites.

Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava said:

This is a major step forward in Miami-Dade County’s commitment to incorporate clean, renewable energy to protect our environment and offer better transportation options. With these new electric buses, Miami-Dade will lead the way with the largest sustainable transportation fleet in Florida and one of the largest in the nation.

Electrek’s Take

China leads the world in electric bus use by far, with more than 421,000 e-buses on the road in 2021 and 1.32 million projected for 2025. In contrast, as of 2020, there were around 650 electric buses running in the US – but that number has grown and continues to grow rapidly, as Miami-Dade and many other US cities are demonstrating.

In May, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Clean Transit for America Plan, which would provide $73 billion to replace the US’s 70,000 mass transit buses and 85,000 cutaway vehicles and transit vans with clean energy vehicles.

Is Schumer’s and Brown’s transit plan going to prevail? We don’t know, since Congress continues to horse trade over the many details of Biden’s enormous infrastructure plan. We certainly hope so.

Regardless, US government at the city and state levels and manufacturers are gearing up and implementing the big shift to electric public transport, like what Miami-Dade is doing. But the US really needs big federal government support. Watch this space.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.