October 20, 2021
The Bay State Banner recently published insight featuring Justin Ren, Associate Professor in Operations and Technology Management, on the topic of the MBTA’s plan to shift to a fully electric bus fleet. The article discusses activists’ views of the current MBTA system, what such a change could mean from an environmental justice standpoint, and what riders can expect from the shift to electric buses.
The ‘million-dollar question,’ as Ren states, is whether the short-term trolley buses meant to transition into a battery-powered fleet, will stick around long-term. The challenge that a fleet of battery electric buses would face comes with the colder weather, which Ren compares to the issues facing an iPhone battery. “Just like your iPhone doesn’t work well in sub-zero temperature, or the battery suddenly dies, it’s the same thing.” However, he goes on to say that technology is improving and that expecting it to be able to support a full bus network is “more than just hope”; as a result, he believes within a few years the technology will be there.
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