Architecture & Real Estate | April 3, 2022 6:00 am

Smaller Transit Agencies Are Electrifying Faster Than Their Urban Counterparts

Good news from unexpected places

EV charger
Charging infrastructure poses many challenges.
Robert Linder/Unsplash

New York City is, like many big cities around the country, working on improving its electric vehicle infrastructure. And there are countless reasons why it makes sense for cities of that size to do so — from voters’ willingness to support such initiatives to the existence of climate change-related goals that upping the presence of electric vehicle-related infrastructure can address.

But there’s also a liability to these efforts — namely, that they have a lot of ground to cover. Getting New York City’s entire bus fleet to a point where they’re all electric requires a lot of work. All of which might help explain why the nation’s first public transit fleet to be fully electric can be found in the Antelope Valley region of California.

That’s one of several takeaways from a recent report in Curbed exploring the ways in which smaller municipalities are having an easier time embracing electric vehicles.

In the case of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority — which is now 18 years ahead of schedule in terms of having zero emissions — some valuable foresight helped matters. A number of the electric vehicles that the region utilizes are made locally, by local workers — a relationship that’s existed since 2018.

As described in the article, the rapid adoption of electric vehicles also offers some useful tips for the rest of the country — including how best to implement charging stations for bus routes that cover a lot of ground. Antelope Valley’s experience can show cities a lot — but the lessons learned there will also provide a huge boost to electrifying suburban and rural transit networks.