18:10 PM

TPA adds its first four electric buses to vehicle fleet

The new vehicles will shuttle employees who work at the Airport and are a key part of sustainability efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Electric employee bus 1

A quartet of brand-new electric passenger buses has arrived at TPA, the latest mile-marker on the Airport’s long-standing commitment to sustainability. 

The four electric buses will serve as a partial replacement for Tampa International Airport’s employee bus fleet, which transports people who work at TPA’s partner businesses from the North Employee Parking Lot off Hillsborough Avenue to the Main Terminal. 

The vehicles are the first electric buses to be owned and operated by TPA.

Electric employee bus 2The Airport currently transports these employees aboard seven diesel buses, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each bus travels about 36,000 miles per year driving the loop from the Main Terminal to the north end of the Airport campus. A group of six compressed natural gas-powered buses complements the diesel fleet when necessary.

The four new vehicles, K9M low-floor electric buses built by BYD Motors, are powered exclusively by electricity instead of fossil fuels. The 40-foot, 16-ton buses can travel up to 156 miles on a single charge, which can be fully replenished at a charging station in about four hours.

Each handicapped-accessible bus has seating for up to 37 passengers and is equipped with USB chargers and a luggage rack.

As part of its sustainability efforts, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which operates TPA and Hillsborough County’s three public General Aviation airports, won a federal 100% Zero Emission Vehicle grant worth $4.65 million to purchase the buses and to install the charging stations at the North Employee Parking Lot to keep them running.

Electric employee bus 10“One of HCAA’s primary sustainability goals is focused on ‘electrifying’ our campuses, and reducing carbon emissions over this next decade,” TPA Sustainability and Resilience Program Director Eric Caplan said. “The addition of electric buses to our fleet will help us do just that. Not only will these buses assist us in achieving our sustainability goals, but the diversification of our transportation fleet will help make TPA’s campus more resilient to conditions that would affect our operational abilities, as well.”   

The Authority is now seeking more grant funding to help update the rest of the employee bus fleet. The charging stations and four electric buses are all due to come online by mid-May.

TPA is the first and only Florida airport to be engaged in the Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program, a carbon management certification standard for airports. The new buses help improve the Airport’s efforts by reducing the current fleet’s carbon emissions. 

For more information about TPA’s Sustainability goals, go here.