Sonoma County purchases 10 all-electric buses as public transit moves toward a zero-emission fleet

The county has purchased 10 new all-electric transit buses, marking the agency’s biggest shift yet as it heads toward an entirely zero-emission fleet.|

Sonoma County has purchased 10 new electric transit buses, marking the biggest shift yet for its transit agency away from fossil fuel and toward an entirely zero-emission fleet, one of the North Bay’s largest.

The new electric buses will replace 10 gas-powered buses now in use in the 49-bus Sonoma County Transit fleet.

Set for delivery next year, between July and August, the new vehicles will join three other all-electric county buses already in use.

“The goal is that by 2035, the entire county’s fleet will transition from natural gas-powered buses to all electric,” said Bryan Albee, Sonoma County Transit systems manager.

Sonoma County Transit deployed its first all-electric bus in 2018.

The new, state-of-the-art buses cost $1,028,704 each before a state-funded $120,000 per bus discount to the manufacturer, Proterra, a California-based leading electric vehicle maker. Proterra buses are already in service in Santa Rosa, where four new electric buses were added to the city fleet last year, and in Napa.

The county’s purchase, approved on Jan. 31 by the Board of Supervisors, comes as California is set to phase out new private and public fossil-fuel powered vehicles over the next dozen years. By 2030, all new public transit buses entering service must be zero-emission.

“This is something that all transit operators in the state are working on,” Albee said.

Proterra buses have the longest range and the most battery capacity of any battery-powered bus currently on the market, according to the county. The expected minimum range is 300 miles between charges, depending on factors including passenger load and weather.

Their extended battery capacity is one of the main reasons the county chose to work with the company, Albee said.

“They will operate on intercity routes crisscrossing the county and won’t have to be charged while out on the road,” he said.

The new buses will run on Sonoma County Transit’s main intercity routes, including Routes 20 and 30 between Monte Rio, Santa Rosa and Sonoma, and Routes 44, 48 and 60 between Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Cloverdale.

The buses feature high-back reclining passenger seats, a video security system, on-board Wi-Fi, the NextBus passenger information system, electronic fareboxes and other safety systems, according to the county.

The fleet conversion is part of the Sonoma County Climate Resilient Lands Strategy, approved last year by the Board of Supervisors to guide climate-related efforts throughout region.

“There’s no better representation of our commitment to climate action and resiliency than transitioning our public transportation infrastructure to zero emissions ahead of schedule,” Board of Supervisors Chair Chris Coursey said in a written statement.

The county is working on securing more funding and lining up the next purchase of electric buses, Albee said. They hope to have additional buses delivered by 2025 or 2026.

“Overall, it's a great thing that Sonoma County is transitioning to electric buses because it’s good for our air, our climate and for future power outages, and we'd love to see other counties follow suit,” said Ryan Schleeter, communications director for The Climate Center in Santa Rosa.

“A lot of people don’t know that electric buses and other electric vehicles can actually prevent power outages. The batteries in electric buses can be used to power hospitals, phones or whatever is needed if power grid goes down. We’re going to experience more power outages in California over the next few years, so people can utilize these batteries during power outages,” Schleeter added.

For more information on the new buses, call 707-576-7433 or email

Kylie Lawrence can be reached at

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