ARC - Electric Bus - VIA Metropolitan Transit

ARC – Electric Bus


VIA’s commitment to cleaner, greener transit options for San Antonio took a giant step in that direction with the unveiling of eight electric buses. The addition of the 40-foot Gillig buses expands VIA’s sustainable vehicle profile that includes nearly 500 buses fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) at one of North America’s largest CNG fueling station, run by VIA.



Electric Bus - Range Icon

The new Gillig electric buses are estimated to have a range of approximately 150 miles. However, the range of any electric vehicle depends on the capacity of its battery. It is equivalent to the size of the tank in fuel-powered vehicles, determining the energy available to operate the vehicle.

The range of electric buses can be impacted by road, tire and weather conditions, as well as from successive charging cycles.

Electric Bus - Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking is a mechanism found on most hybrid and full-electric vehicles. It captures kinetic energy from braking and converts it into the electrical power that charges the vehicle’s high voltage battery.

Regenerative braking can extend the range of an electric vehicle from 8% to 25%, and helps in effective control of the braking operation, by exerting a reverse torque on the wheel when the brake pedal is depressed.

VIA’s fleet of eight electric buses will be charged in a new 12-bay covered Charging Area that houses four ChargePoint Power Link dispensers. Each dispenser can connect to two buses, and consecutively charge both buses in less than eight hours. 

A power block houses multiple modules that deliver 350 kW to each vehicle, and cloud-based software makes it easy to configure and manage the fast-charging stations.


+ March 23, 2021 VIA Trustees approves purchase of eight (8) electric buses
+ March 30, 2021 VIA awards contract to Gillig, LLC for purchase of the eight buses
+ Nov. 16, 2021 VIA Trustees approves purchase of Charging Station infrastructure
+ Nov. 17, 2021 VIA awards contract to Veregy to build four (4) Charging Station
+ Oct. 11, 2022 Construction begins on Charging Stations
+ Dec. 1, 2022 VIA received delivery of eight (8) electric buses
+ Feb. 6, 2023 Power circuits installed; operator/maintenance training begins
+ Feb. 18, 2023 Successful charging test of eight (8) buses; road tests begin


VIA always has been committed to sustainability. Electric buses produce no tailpipe emissions. Technology is improving and VIA is using a new generation of electric buses to study the aspects and effects of electric vehicles in our fleet.

The eight electric buses in the VIA fleet are being equipped and tested to makes sure they are safe and ready for use in normal routes. Operators and maintenance staff are currently training in all aspects, and the plan is put them into service in the second half of 2023.

Riders will experience the same safe transportation and friendly service that is available on all VIA services. The electric buses will be much quieter and provide a smooth ride. Amenities include charging ports at every seat, color LED destination signs and light-touch bars to open rear doors.

The expected travel range of the electric buses is approximately 150 miles on a single charge. Factors such as kilowatt usage, traffic conditions, interior cooling and heating, and weather can all impact the actual miles each bus can travel.

VIA has constructed a 12-vehicle covered bay that currently houses four (4) charging stations. Each charging station can charge two buses consecutively.

Each bus can be charged in four or less

The Gillig electric buses in the VIA fleet are equipped with six (6) onboard batteries.

VIA has not determined the permanent routes the buses will service. Currently, VIA is conducting road tests on Route 2 Blanco Frequent (paired with Route 34 South St. Mary’s Frequent) and Route 14 Perrin Beitel Skip (paired with Route 44 Pleasanton) to analyze data, including range, turning radius at intersections, and road clearance, that could impact which routes are most feasible for the electric buses.

The eight electric buses were procured with assistance from federal grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration in 2021 and delivered in December 2022.