Saturday, August 18 , 2018, 11:55 am | Mostly Cloudy 74º


MTD Powering Up 14 New Electric Shuttles

More than 25 years after the launch of the nation’s first electric transit fleet, Santa Barbara MTD has welcomed the first of 14 new BYD battery electric vehicles.

MTD’s existing fleet of 14, 22-foot-long E-Bus electric shuttles serve the Downtown-Waterfront Shuttle on State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard, the Crosstown Shuttle route connecting Santa Barbara’s Eastside and Westside neighborhoods, and the Seaside Shuttle loop in Carpinteria.

The new shuttles have modern battery-electric technology and a slightly larger passenger capacity, as they are 30 feet long. The shuttles are the same width as the original fleet.

In addition to new battery technology, the BYD fleet will be equipped with GPS technology and will be trackable with MTD’s new SBMTD BusTracker smartphone app.

The fully-electric pilot vehicle made the 130-mile drive from BYD’s Lancaster facility to Santa Barbara MTD’s bus yard on one charge, and still had about 30 percent battery remaining.

The pilot shuttle will continue to undergo testing, and drivers and mechanics will be trained on the new vehicle. The new shuttles will begin to be integrated with the older ones over the next several months. Eventually, the older shuttles will be retired.

— Hillary Blackerby for MTD.


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