Eight battery powered electric buses
are joining the ranks of the RFTA fleet!

These buses are the result of a partnership involving RFTA and the City of Aspen with help in funding from the Federal Transit Administration,
Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Elected Officials Transportation Committee.

In Partnership With:



They’re quieter.

Electric motors emit very little external noise, making for a greater rider experience. The amount of noise they make idling is generally quieter than the ambient noise surrounding them.

They’re cleaner.

These new battery-electric buses produce zero emissions at the tail-pipe, which means cleaner air and a more livable environment.

They’re easier to maintain.

A lot of work goes into keeping the RFTA bus fleet in top shape. These new battery-electric buses will be easier — and cheaper — to maintain. They have fewer moving parts than our current buses, which means fewer parts to maintain and fluids to replace.


Our USA-built New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE™ buses differ from the buses
you’re likely used to. Here are the features they have… and a few things they’re missing:

  • Regenerative Braking

While decelerating, the bus recharges it’s batteries, reducing energy consumption and extending the range.

  • Transmission

These buses have an electric drive system; no transmission required. This saves weight and simplifies maintenance.

  • Batteries

These buses are powered by on-board batteries and are recharged by four depot charging stations at the Aspen Maintenance Facility.

  • Oil Changes

Change the oil every 3,000 miles? Not with our electric buses. They’ll never require an oil change.

  • Range

The buses will be charged overnight and the daily range varies greatly based on factors such as climate, grades and weight. 

  • Tailpipes

With no emissions, there’s no need for a tailpipe.

  • Capacity

The buses have 38 passenger seats with seatbelts. While moving they are capable of carrying 47 total passengers in the form of 38 seated and 9 standing.

  • Fuel Costs

It is estimated they will save up to $400,000 in fuel costs over 12 years.


The electrification of a portion of RFTA’s fleet is a goal of the RFTA Board of Directors and a publicly supported initiative from RFTA Destination 2040. Stay informed at rfta.com/2040roadmap


RFTA and Holy Cross Electric have worked to install sufficient bus charging infrastructure, establish a cheaper utility rate for strategic time-of-day charging and assess renewable energy offset options.


While these buses sound great,
we need to make sure they live up to their
promise before we roll them out.

To test the buses’ ability and range, we are testing them on shorter, flatter routes around the
City of Aspen without passengers before moving to the longer, steeper roads.

RFTA is planning to place the buses into full service with the start of Fall Shoulder season on November 28th. Until then the buses are in a testing phase and you may see these buses with temporary wraps around Aspen. The public and passengers will not be able to board the buses during this testing phase.

  • They are currently being tested on the City of Aspen Routes

  • RFTA drivers and maintenance workers are receiving extensive special training on the buses and infrastructure

  • Expected In-Service Date:
    December 3, 2019


Federal and State Grants funded roughly half
of the costs, and the remaining funds were
provided by RFTA and the City of Aspen.

$9.2 Million Total Project Cost

• Eight buses cost roughly $1 million each
• Four depot charging stations, infrastructure and installation cost $1 million


• Federal and State funding: $4.2 million
• EOTC Funding: $500,000
• Remaining Funding: RFTA and City of Aspen


Our focus on innovation and sustainability is helping set new standards for the transit industry.
There are currently only 300 Battery Electric Buses in service in the U.S. and we are adding eight!

RFTA and the City of Aspen were awarded the 2019 Colorado Association of Transit Agencies Transit Team of the Year Award in recognition of the incredible team effort required to secure funding and community support for this project!


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