Federal Program to Help NVTC Identify Locations for ‘On-Route’ Recharging of Electric Buses


Biden Administration providing free support for technical analysis in Northern Virginia

A federal program will provide free technical assistance to The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) to analyze how local public transit agencies in Northern Virginia could share infrastructure that allows electric buses to recharge while running their routes. “On-route charging” enables buses to recharge their batteries on the go, rather than having to return to a garage to plug in, potentially extending the range of the buses. That could improve reliability and lower infrastructure costs for battery electric buses (BEB).

Several bus providers in Northern Virginia have overlapping routes that could be effective for shared on-route charging, including ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, and Metrobus. The analysis will identify potential locations for those chargers.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) created the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which works with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide technical assistance. NVTC submitted a successful request for assistance from the Joint Office to evaluate potential sites for shared charging and consider how the operational model would function. This year-long analysis comes at no cost to NVTC or local or state governments. NVTC will work closely with Northern Virginia’s public transit agencies to advance this study.

“We are grateful to the Biden Administration, the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for providing this valuable technical assistance to ensure that Northern Virginia continues to lead the nation in public transit innovation,” said NVTC Chair Matt de Ferranti. “This no-cost assistance reduces barriers in the critical transition to zero-emission buses in our region and demonstrates the importance of regional collaboration in addressing climate and transportation issues.”

Examining on-route charging is one of six strategies identified by NVTC’s Northern Virginia Zero-Emission Bus Strategic Plan, published earlier this year.