Houston METRO unveils new, battery-powered bus

HOUSTON — Houston is getting a real charge out of some news METRO unveiled today.

The 40-foot green bus operates completely on battery power, and it's all ours for a three-month trial run.

"We've gone from clean diesel, hybrid electric and now to full battery-operated," METRO's CEO Tom Lambert said. "So, it's part of our evolution of looking at different technologies."

The electric bus will follow the 63 Fondren route, which is about a 20-mile round trip. The experiment gets rolling the first week of December.

The wheels on this bus go round and round, and can cover about 40 miles on a single charge.  The biggest difference between this big green non-gas guzzler and the typical METRO bus is emissions. This new guy doesn't have any.

"We need to do everything we possibly can do to improve the air quality, to respect the environment," METRO's board chair Carrin Patman said.

This is METRO's first test run with an all electric bus to see if it's is a good fit for the city.

"The real test will be the air conditioning test," says Lambert, given just how hot it gets in Houston. "They've got to demonstrate they can go from 110 degrees down to 70 degrees inside that bus in 30 minutes."

This is a pretty interesting concept. And given the growing interest in battery-powered vehicles, the transit folks are just trying to stay positive!