Technical Analysis Phase 1: Battery Electric Bus Fleet
SEPTA is currently evaluating what would be required to shift our current bus fleet to an all ZEB fleet starting in 2026. The goal would be to have a complete transition by 2040.
This evaluation includes analysis of vehicle and infrastructure costs, funding options, technological limitations, bus procurement schedules and service needs. SEPTA will continue to replace older diesel buses with hybrid buses until appropriate ZEB facilities are in place.
Battery electric buses (BEBs) require special infrastructure to charge buses.
High-power fast chargers can charge a depleted
battery in less than an hour.
Low-power slow chargers can charge a depleted
battery over three or more hours.
Most charging would occur at bus districts, but a network of on-route high-power fast chargers would also be needed to give some buses the extra energy needed to complete their scheduled service.
These infrastructure requirements will likely add to SEPTA’s existing need for new bus garage(s) and/or expansion of existing district(s). The installation of charger equipment is expected to reduce garage storage capacity due to space needed for charging equipment. Some nonstandard or overflow areas where buses are stored today might not be usable for ZEBs. A modest number of buses may also need to be added to the fleet to facilitate schedule adjustments that increase schedule compatibility with available bus battery sizes.
The graphic below shows a potential timeline for SEPTA’s facility upgrades required to support a ZEB fleet. For context, a map of SEPTA’s bus districts is shown. Note that the sequence of facility upgrades is heavily informed by equity considerations.