Howard County will add three electric buses that use an advanced technology — the first of its kind in an American public transit system — that lets the vehicles be recharged without plugging them into an outlet.
County executive Ken Ulman announced that Howard Transit has received federal funding to acquire the full-size, lightweight buses for use on routes in and around Columbia. The buses use what is called an inductive charger that repowers the bus batteries without a physical connection.
According to Howard County, the technology has been used successfully in Europe but has not been used on an American transit system. The $4.7 million acquisition is being financed primarily by a $3.7 million Federal Transit Administration grant authorized under the federal economic stimulus program. The buses are slated for use on Howard Transit's busy Green Route serving the Mall in Columbia, Howard Community College and Howard County General Hospital.