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Our First Battery Electric Bus Has Arrived!
August 20, 2019


For People, Place & Planet

Since 2014, Big Blue Bus has led the way in the adoption of clean fuel, near-zero emissions buses, which has helped reduce our nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 70% over the last 3 years -- but there's still more work to do! That's why we rolled out our first battery electric bus (BEB) in August 2019!

As a public transit agency, we have a responsibility to safely connect people to opportunities that enrich their well-being, and we must do so in a manner that contributes to the preservation of people, place, and planet. This principle, along with state and local goals for zero emissions buses, has guided our important work toward strengthening our commitment to sustainability and the environment.  

We've deployed our inaugural BEB as part of a pilot program, designed to help us evaluate battery electric technology, and better understand how to meet our goal of a zero emissions fleet by 2030.

Ride Blue. Go Green. 

Ride Blue. Go Green. is not merely our motto, it's our mantra. It's a standard of excellence that reflects the core values of our agency, and our unwavering commitment to the preservation of our planet's natural resources, and the wellbeing of our residents. That's why we're working to help fight the devastating, long-lasting effects of climate change.

Big Blue Bus is committed to fostering a healthy and resilient people, place, and planet, through the adoption of a clean energy bus fleet. By eliminating our dependence on natural gas, we can drastically lower our carbon footprint in the communities we serve. But that alone isn't enough -- we need your help. 

Each time you ride Big Blue Bus, you help to support our environment by choosing an alternative to carbon-polluting, fossil fuel dependent vehicles. You also help maintain our rights to safe, accessible, affordable, and reliable transportation.

Here's what you can expect with the arrival of our first battery-electric bus: 


Cleaner Air
Our zero emissions bus will be powered by 100% renewable energy, for better air quality in the Los Angeles region. 



Quiet & Comfortable Ride
Reduced noise pollution for residents and businesses, and a quieter, more relaxing ride for customers. 



More Efficient
Easier preventative maintenance, with less parts and fluids to maintain and/or replace, which helps keep you moving. 


Driven by Innovation 

Big Blue Bus partnered with transportation industry leaders GILLIG and Cummins to design, build, and test the groundbreaking zero emissions bus. From initial design through final assembly, the bus was built entirely in Livermore, California (as is all buses manufactured by GILLIG). The BEB incorporates Cummins' electrified powertrain, which features remote diagnostics and over-the-air connectivity. The bus was developed on the proven Low Floor platform, to deliver better quality, reliability, durability, safety and serviceability. 

By the Numbers Comparison

Here's a look at how the BEB compares to several other renewable natural gas-powered buses in our fleet: 



2019 GILLIG 40' 
2019 GILLIG BEB Specifications_200



2018 GILLIG 40' 
2018 GILLIG Specifications_200



2011 NABI 40'
2011 NABI Specifications_200



2004 New Flyer 40' 
2004 New Flyer Specifications_200


Engine Type

Cummins Battery Electric 

Cummins Westport 
ISL G 8.9 L Near Zero 

Cummins Westport 
ISL G 8.9 L 

Cummins Westport
C-Gas Plus 8.3 L

Fuel Type

100% Renewable Energy 

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Extracted from Landfills 

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Extracted from Landfills 

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Extracted from Landfills 

Total NOx Emissions 
Useful Life 
(12 Years)

0 lbs.

2,724 lbs. 

3,054 lbs. 

385,740 lbs. 

Technical Specifications 

Here are some key technical specifications of the state-of-the-art BEB: 

Propulsion System 

The bus is driven forward by Cummins' Electrified Powertrain System, which utilizes a direct-drive traction motor that has a peak power and torque of 350kW and 3,400Nm, respectively. 

Fast Charging 

We deployed a paired installation of ChargePoint Express 250 fast chargers, that deliver up to 125KW of renewable energy, and fully charge the bus in under four (4) hours.  

Regenerative Braking System

Whenever the bus brakes or decelerates, its motor will help capture kinetic energy that can be used to extend travel range. 


The 40-foot bus is powered by six (6) onboard batteries, with a total capacity of 444 kWh. 

Travel Range  

Weighing nearly 35,000 lbs., the bus can travel up to 150-miles on a single charge.  

Seating & Accessibility 

The bus seats 38 passengers (with a total capacity of 75 passengers) and has a low floor platform for greater accessibility. 

Passenger Features 

The BEB is equipped with all the on-board amenities our customers have come to expect, including: 

  • On-board Wi-Fi: Complimentary Wi-Fi is now available on-board all new BBB buses.
  • Passenger Awareness Monitor: A 10-inch monitor will display a live feed from a security camera mounted near the front door. The monitor will help increase safety and security for both customers and Operators, and deter crime and vandalism. The monitor will be integrated with the digital video recording (DVR) system on the bus, which will consist of 14 cameras, located in the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
  • Wheelchair Securement: The bus will employ an ADA compliant, three-point securement system called the "Q-POD," which will allow for quicker wheelchair securement times, reduced vehicle dwell time, and increased passenger comfort and safety.
  • Retractable Seating: Located near the Q-POD will be four (4) forward-facing seats that can be stowed in an upward position, allowing customers to safely store carts, strollers, suitcases, and other bulky items, while keeping the aisle clear.
  • Destination Signs: The bus will use silver LED destination signs, which are brighter and more visible to customers, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Slip Resistant Flooring: The bus will also feature durable and slip resistant flooring that allows for increased safety and easy maintenance.
  • EZ Stop System: A push button system will be installed on every vertical stanchion inside the bus, making it easy for customers to request a stop. The buttons are ADA compliant and will emit a low-frequency sound that does not disrupt service animals.


In July 2018, Santa Monica City Council approved a sixth modification to BBB's existing agreement with GILLIG, which allowed the agency to purchase one (1) 40-foot prototype electric bus.  

Big Blue Bus plans to purchase and deploy another eighteen (18) zero emissions buses (ZEBs) by 2021, of which ten (10) will be provided by a $3 million grant from the California State Transportation Agency's (CalSTA) Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). TIRCP funding is provided through Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) and from the proceeds of the Cap and Trade program. 

The Road to Zero 

Before our electric bus hit the streets in August, we ran a series of performance tests to determine the most efficient operating conditions for the vehicle. When the bus officially went into service, it replaced a 2004 liquefied natural gas (LNG) bus that reached the end of its useful life.  

In the months ahead, we'll evaluate the performance, cost and reliability of the BEB, while working to identify funding opportunities and best practices for future ZEBs, including the purchase and deployment of eighteen (18) additional buses by 2021. 

To discover how our pursuit of a zero emissions future began, and learn more about our path forward, visit: