Pace accelerates EV evolution; Inaugural battery-operated bus takes off, with 22 more en route

Pace marked a milestone recently, debuting an electric bus in the South suburbs with more coming this year.

“This marks a pivotal moment for Pace and our commitment to sustainable mobility solutions,” Executive Director Melissa Metzger said at the roll-out of the battery-operated bus in Bridgeview on Jan. 19.

Pace has 22 more electric buses to be delivered in 2024.

“About half of the vehicles will operate out of our North Division in Waukegan,” spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken said. “The others will be distributed throughout the region as ongoing charging infrastructure work allows.”

Pace is gradually transitioning to an electric fleet as it acquires funding.

The goal is to reach zero-emissions by 2040. Over 700 buses in all will be replaced.

But it’s not just about launching the buses. Multiple garages need to be converted to accommodate charging facilities. Significant increases in electrical power are required at garages and Pace is coordinating with ComEd on logistics, officials said.

Pace’s Southwest Division in Bridgeview and Heritage Division in Plainfield currently have charging stations, with more planned for installation later this year, Daly Skogsbakken said.

The initiative has significant costs but Pace leaders noted that switching from diesel will reduce air pollution and has the potential to cut operating expenses over time.

Electric buses are approximately $1.2 million each and upgrades at nine garages are estimated at $1.5 billion. Pace has received federal grants to subsidize the project and is working to secure more.

“Pace’s leadership in embracing clean energy showcases the potential for transformative change, and aligns with our shared vision of propelling our communities towards a greener tomorrow,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Jan. 19.

Pace debuted an electric bus in Bridgeview earlier this month. The agency plans to add 22 more in its fleet this year. Courtesy of Pace
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