On Friday the Chicago Transit Authority pressed six prototype electric buses into service. CTA passengers using the EV buses can look forward to a smoother, quieter ride while the rest of the planet can benefit from the reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The new battery-powered buses will operate along the #66 Chicago route running between Navy Pier and Austin Boulevard on the West Side. 

The buses can travel between 75 and 120 miles on a single battery charge. The  CTA installed quick-charging stations—designed and built by Mortenson—at the Navy Pier and Austin turnarounds and its Chicago Avenue garage.

The buses use overhead, cantilever-type chargers allowing the vehicles to return to service quickly, according to the CTA. CTA/MortensonThe CTA entered an agreement with manufacturer Proterra to purchase a total of 23 electric buses for roughly $900,000 each. The remainder of the order is expected to be delivered in early 2022, according to CTA officials. The bright blue-colored vehicles are part of CTA's larger initiative to go all-electric over the next two decades.

"The introduction of these new electric buses is just one example of how the CTA is committed to adding more green vehicles, addressing climate change, and being more environmentally conscious," said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., in a news release.

"Once these prototype vehicles pass the testing phase and we purchase additional electric buses, CTA will be one step closer to its goal of having a 100 percent electric fleet by the year 2040."

The CTA first tested a pair of electric buses in 2014. After both vehicles performed well dealing with Chicago’s extreme weather and temperatures, the decision was made to purchase additional examples.