Clemson council to vote on final costs for Proterra
By Greg Oliver
CLEMSON — At its last meeting two weeks ago, Clemson City Council delayed action on finalizing an agreement with Proterra to provide battery-electric buses to the city and Clemson University starting next year.
The delay wasn’t due to a disagreement between the parties, however. Instead, city administrator Rick Cotton told council city officials have requested price revisions on some newer types of battery charging systems.
“We discussed alternate types of charger devices to install at the depot, and we’re looking at some that are different than what we originally looked at,” Cotton said. “We as a staff have requested some revisions in the mounting devices used for charging systems.”
As a result, Cotton said Proterra is re-pricing the cost for the type of chargers under consideration.
“It’s a new design that allows you to aggregate the charger in more than one location and mount differently,” he said.
Council is expected to approve the final cost proposal by Proterra at tonight’s meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting is being held a day later due to the Labor Day holiday.
Earlier this month, council unanimously approved Proterra as a vendor for 10 new electric buses scheduled to arrive in the city in 2018. Proterra was chosen among three vendors, which also included BYD and New Flyer, for its FTA Lo-No Electric Bus Procurement Grant. Proterra was also found to be the least expensive of the vendors, with a little more than $12 million for total capital and operating costs, followed by BYD and New Flyer. Officials said the driving difference between the high and low costs involved replacement parts.
At the same meeting, council authorized staff to negotiate additional and alternative pricing components and a total acquisition contract price to be considered by city council within the next 30 days.
Cotton said he plans to make a purchase order for the new electric buses if approval is given tonight, as expected. The new buses are expected to arrive in the city in July, a month before going into operation, so that drivers can have time to be trained.
In addition to the 10 new electric buses Clemson will be purchasing, the agreement includes the option to purchase 29 additional electric buses.
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