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Call 6: Red Line bus charge range falling short

Posted at 11:46 PM, Mar 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 11:01:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — More of the electric buses that will run along the Red Line have been rolling into town. But the big question remains - will those buses meet the 275-mile range on a single charge that was promised to IndyGo?

IndyGo signed a contract with a Chinese company called BYD, which stands for "Build Your Dreams," for the buses that cost more than a million dollars each.

READ | CALL 6: IndyGo Red Line electric bus testing results may have been flawed |

The first time Call 6 checked, the buses were traveling just 200 miles on a single charge. Officials told RTV6 on Thursday evening that number has improved to about 230 miles per charge in recent tests. To make up for the shortfall, IndyGo says they're asking the company to add in-route charging and extra buses.

"We're building in a little extra time at the end of the trip for each bus to give it about ten or 15 minutes to charge, and that offset will keep the buses operating all day based on this operating plan," IndyGo's Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, Bryan Luellen, said.

IndyGo says the charge range will not impact the frequency of buses along the Red Line. They're working out the final details with the bus vendor so that the changes will not increase the Red Line project's price tag.

The statement from IndyGo on charging reads:

Through a competitive procurement process, BYD was awarded a contract to manufacture 31 battery electric vehicles that will travel 275 miles on a single charge. The vehicles have been tested in Indianapolis and are falling short on this range requirement. IndyGo and the board of directors are holding BYD accountable to the bid and the contract. IndyGo has secured a commitment from BYD to provide in-route charging and additional vehicles to make good on the operational and range requirement. IndyGo has received 6 vehicles to date and expects to receive another 19 before the opening of the Red Line. The BYD buses have been certified as road-worthy, meeting specifications for vehicle safety on the road, and are making progress in the final FTA Altoona performance testing requirement. Payment of any vehicle with FTA funds is not made until Altoona sign off. An operating plan is being finalized that will maintain service every 10 minutes throughout the day as originally planned. The vehicles are safe and, when paired with in-route charging, will meet the Red Line operational requirements. IndyGo stands by its commitment to electric propulsion, the Red Line, and the Marion County Transit Plan.

READ | CALL 6: Internal documents reveal issues with IndyGo red Line buses |