Electric buses to come to UC Davis in 2020

Electric buses to come to UC Davis in 2020

Photo Credits: QUINN SPOONER / AGGIE FILE Caption: UC Davis Health Center's shuttle delivers passengers between the UC Davis Medical Center and the Silo on September 26, 2019.

Buses to take students to West Sacramento, Downtown Sacramento 

Students can expect an expansion to the existing bus service from campus to the Davis Medical Center in Sacramento as early as Spring 2020. The buses will be electric and replace the existing service that operates hourly. 

Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, will be providing 12 buses for the expansion, an upgrade from the two that are currently in use. The university originally announced that the buses would be operational in late 2019. 

“The effort has always had an ambitious schedule and is currently ahead of our overall expectations,” said Matt Dulcich, the director of environmental planning for UC Davis, via email. “Ordering and manufacturing of the California built vehicles has proceeded as quickly as possible and past announcements may have reflected outdated project details.”

Volkswagen founded Electrify America in response to the company’s emissions scandal where it was found that it had intentionally programmed its diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only while being tested, in order to meet American emissions standards. 

The buses will facilitate the larger plan to increase the connection between UC Davis and Sacramento. Eventually, the buses will also go to Aggie Square, the “innovation hub” that is planned to be built on the UC Davis Sacramento campus. The new development is meant to create opportunities for students, researchers and alumni in the city. 

With many employees and students already commuting between the two cities, the goal is that the new buses will decrease the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road. They will help with the UC’s system-wide commitment to emit net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicles by 2025 — a goal unique to the system. 

The buses are part of Electrify America’s Green Cities Initiative meant to increase access to zero emission vehicles in metropolitan areas across the country. Sacramento was the first city chosen for the initiative. The company is investing $44 million to launch initiatives like the electric buses.

Will Berry, the fleet and operations manager at Electrify America, said via email that “no official launch date for the service was ever announced.” The service would be operational “by Q4-2019,” or Oct. 1 2019, according to the website of the marketing campaign for the company’s green city investments.

Written by: Andrea Esquetini— campus@theaggie.org