PSTA begins construction on electric bus charging station

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is constructing a new electric bus charging station at its transfer hub on 34th Street in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority began construction Feb. 6 on a new electric bus charging station at its transfer hub on 34th Street in St. Petersburg.

This new wireless charging station, using 250-kilowatt Inductive Power Transfer Technology, includes a primary charging plate aimed at reducing wait time for electric buses to be fully charged.

PSTA has a fleet of two electric buses with four more expected this fall. They currently charge by using a plug-in charger that takes about four hours to fully recharge. This new technology would cut the wait-time by more than half.

“This innovative technology is one giant step forward for not only PSTA, but transit agencies across the nation, said Brad Miller, PSTA’s chief executive officer. “Being the first electric charging station of its kind in Florida sets the standard of transportation agencies becoming more environmentally-friendly. At PSTA we are committed to reducing our carbon-footprint while still providing the best service possible to our community.”

The process works by an electric bus stopping over the charge plate and aligning with it. The only training drivers will need is how to properly align with the charger, which connects with the bus wirelessly. Electric buses average 180 miles or 15 hours before having to re-charge.

Project construction and installation was awarded to A & K Energy Conservation Inc. to not exceed a total cost of $192,000. Funding comes from Pinellas County's Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement.

During construction PSTA’s layby on 34th street will be closed, and buses will be diverted to an on-site temporary transfer center at PSTA’s headquarters. Completion of the electric charging station is expected by spring.