NEW: University of Alabama receives $8M grant for new electric buses

Crimson Ride’s are going electric. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

The University of Alabama’s (UA) football team isn’t the only thing that’s electric in Tuscaloosa. With a new $10 million project (including $2 million in matching funds from UA), the University will replace a quarter of its transit system buses with electric buses. Read on to get charged up about these new additions.

It’s electric!

Crimson Ride is one of the most popular ways of getting around UA, providing about 2 million rides annually to its campus community, including off-campus and game day services.

Now, they’re transitioning to an electric fleet, reducing emissions and further positioning the University and the region as a hub for the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem.

“Modifying the current fleet will allow the Crimson Ride Transit to meet the campus population growth while moving resources where they can be best utilized. The transfer to electric buses will reduce emissions and have an immediate impact on our area.”

Stuart Bell, President, The University of Alabama

The $10 million project involves installing an electric charging infrastructure for the eight new Crimson Ride buses and working with Shelton State Community College to train workers to service the buses and ready them for the emerging, well-paying EV industry in Alabama.

First-of-its-kind research

As part of the United States Department of Transit Administration’s $1.66 billion initiative to invest in 150 bus fleets and facilities across the country, UA will add a unique research effort for electric transit vehicles.

According to President Bell, the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies will install sensors that allow a first-of-its-kind study of how electric vehicle technology behaves and can be optimized in a transit setting.

James Knickrehm, associate director of transportation services at UA, says the new buses, along with the infrastructure and skilled technicians necessary to support the vehicles, will be phased in over the next few years.

“Winning this grant is the first phase of our transition plan. It allows the University to lead the way as we not only make the air clearer, but develop new technologies and workforce training to enable the state to show the nation the possibilities of this technology. Transitioning to an electric bus fleet is a significant commitment for the University, and we are fortunate to have strong support from UA’s faculty in our transition.”

James Knickrehm, Associate Director of transportation services, The University of Alabama

Retiring these aging, diesel buses will save money, allowing for future expanded routes and opportunities to provide zero-emission transit services for residents in other areas of Tuscaloosa.

Find out more about the impact of this new grant.

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Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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