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Laketran debuts Ohio's first battery-operated electric bus

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Posted at 8:05 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 08:05:07-04

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — Lake County’s Public Transit System Laketran is debuting Ohio’s first electric bus.

“We were some of the first folks to have compressed natural gas busses back in the 90s. So it makes sense that we're the first ones to have these first battery electric busses in Ohio,” said Ben Capelle, CEO of Laketran.

Capelle said one bus can save up to $400,000 in fuel costs over its 12-year life, up to $125,000 in maintenance costs and has zero emissions.

“So these make almost no noise,” he said. “And at first, even for us that have been doing this for a long time, we're kind of like, is the bus on right now? So it should be a much more pleasant experience than it is now.

One of the coolest features is the 16-foot overhead charging mast at the new transit center at Lakeland Community College.

The typical charge takes 3 to 6 minutes, ensuring the central operations for all six routes will not be impacted by riders.

On Thursday, the new transit center will be dedicated in honor of Frank Polivka, who was Laketran’s first employee in 1979. He led the charge on being innovative to help reduce emissions and eventually helped create the healthline for the Greater Cleveland RTA.

"So it makes all the sense in the world that this building, which houses the electric charging infrastructure, is dedicated to the man who started the place and sort of set the tone," Capelle said.

The dedication ceremony will be held at the transit center on the Lakeland Community College Campus at 11 a.m.

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