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Policy Pairings Event – Electrifying Mass Transit

By: Sean P. Smith, CFA

March 31, 2016


Accredited Investors Wealth Management is proud to once again be the Lead Series Sponsor for Fresh Energy’s Power Pairings Breakfast Series for the 2016 Program. Each event in the series brings together two experts to share their perspectives and participate in a conversation about key energy issues facing Minnesota.

This year’s series kicked off with the topic:  Fully Charged | Can Minnesota transition to electric buses?

Although much attention has been garnered by the rapid growth of the electric vehicle market in recent years, this Power Pairing discussion highlighted the huge opportunity presented by the conversion of America’s public transportation bus fleet from diesel to electric.

In Minnesota, the City of Duluth is leading the way on this front. Duluth will begin operating six electric buses this year, replacing the oldest and least efficient buses in their fleet with the new, fast-charging, American-made electric buses.

Economics & Public Policy

The discussion approached the issue from both economic and public policy perspectives.


Matt Horton, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at electric bus manufacturer Proterra, provided many of the economic points:

  • Current diesel buses average four miles per gallon, and natural gas powered buses average the equivalent of three miles per gallon
  • In contrast, electric buses average the equivalent of 22 miles per gallon
    • This equates to the ability to move 80 people with the same MPG as an SUV
  • Electric buses can deliver an 80% savings in fuel expenses, and a 50% savings in maintenance expenses, versus traditional diesel buses

Shawntera Hardy, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Dayton, spoke to the broader public benefits stemming from a switch to an electric bus fleet. Beyond the environmental, economic, and operating advantages, a conversion to a clean electric fleet would have substantial public health benefits, especially in communities where bus transit routes are concentrated.

By examining a topic from two different perspectives, the Power Pairings Series once again succeeded in presenting all attendees with a clearer picture of the overall issue.


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