ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- New battery electric buses whiz from stop to stop on the MetroLINK network every day. They can run on the streets for about eight hours on a single charge, according to MetroLINK General Manger Jeff Nelson.
"What a game changer those battery electric buses have been for our industry," Nelson said. "Quiet, efficient, and probably more importantly they’re very sustainable."
Setting up the charging stations at MetroLINK's maintenance and operations facility in Rock Island required a significant investment and some problem solving. IBEW Local 145 and NECA contractors helped MetroLINK come up with an innovative and award-winning solution.
"They really understood how to manage that system, more importantly how to install that system," Nelson said.
That solution was to run the conduit from the power control systems up toward the ceiling and hang the charging dispensers overhead. Therefore, there's no need for a curbside charger and buses can park closer together, with just enough room for someone to grab a dispenser and plug it in.
"What we want to do is to be able to bring the charge to the bus, versus the bus to the charge," Nelson said. "So working with our local contractor, NECA contractors and IBEW local 145, we came up with an innovative solution."
MetroLINK was awarded in September 2019 with Metro Magazine Innovation Award for the overhead charging system.