It looks like an oversized iPhone charger turned upside down.
But the new charging station for Lextran’s electric buses can charge a bus for its route in about 10 minutes, faster than most cellphones charge.
The charging station was installed in early December. It’s Lextran’s second such station.
The odd-shaped unit is on High Street behind Lextran’s downtown Lexington transit center.
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“The High Street charge station is the only ‘on-route’ fast-charge station in the city,” said Jill Barnett, assistant general manager for Lextran. a secondary depot charger is at the Lextran maintenance facility on Loudon Avenue.
Most of the $550,000 cost of construction and installation of the station was paid for by a federal transportation grant that encourages low emissions. Currently, Lextran has five electric buses. That’s about 7 percent of its fleet of 67 buses. A little more than 11 percent are powered by compressed natural gas. The vast majority — about 67 percent — are diesel. The remaining buses in the fleet are a combination of hybrid electric and gas.
Alternative energy sources aren’t just environmentally friendly. They’re budget-friendly, Barnett said.
“We recognized the need to diversify our energy sources, from an environmental and economic standpoint,” Barnett said. “Fuel costs make up a large portion of the annual Lextran budget, yet they’re volatile, and the price of electric propulsion and natural gas tend to be more stable over time.”
Lextran might install other charging units in the future, Barnett said. That will largely depend on funding, she said.
“As funding becomes available, Lextran will install another charging station elsewhere in the city, and we are open to working with partners that may be interested in battery-electric technology,” she said.