UCSF Unveils New Electric Shuttles, Moving Toward Goal of All-Electric Fleet

Zero-Emission Vehicles Will Help Improve Air Quality and Lessen Neighborhood Impacts

By Laura Kurtzman

UCSF's electric shuttle bus.
UCSF's new all-electric, zero-emission shuttle bus at Mission Bay campus. Photo by Marco Sanchez

UC San Francisco is adding 15 new all-electric, zero-emission transit vehicles to the intercampus shuttle fleet that serves UCSF employees, faculty, students, patients and guests.

These electric shuttles will replace aging gasoline- and diesel-powered shuttles, making a quarter of the University’s fleet electric. Each year, the UCSF shuttle network transports about 2.5 million passengers and traverses close to one million miles throughout the city. By retiring these older shuttles, the battery electric buses will remove 60 metric tons of CO2 from the air per year and help to improve air quality. The University aims to have an all-electric fleet within 10 years.

“We are very proud to be taking this critical step to advance the health and well-being of our community,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “Our investment in clean energy will help improve the air quality for everyone who lives and works on or near our campuses. These new electric shuttles demonstrate the University’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. We are working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, and that includes converting all of our shuttles to electric.”

UCSF’s electric bus
UCSF’s new electric buses will begin servicing routes Oct. 1. Photo by Marco Sanchez

The first electric buses will begin servicing routes on Oct. 1, starting on the Red line. In the weeks ahead, more electric buses will be added to existing routes, with 10 buses expected to be deployed by the end of the year on the Blue, Bronze, Gold, Grey and Red routes. All 15 buses should be deployed during peak hours by the spring of 2019.

We are very proud to be taking this critical step to advance the health and well-being of our community. Our investment in clean energy will help improve the air quality for everyone who lives and works on or near our campuses.

UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS

The University invested $8.2 million, after state and local rebates, in the 15 new buses, EV chargers, electrical infrastructure and transit yard enhancements. The buses run for 200 miles per charge and can be fully charged in less than three hours. The new buses also have a larger passenger capacity than the current fleet, which will help reduce the number of shuttles circulating throughout the city, as well as impacts on the neighborhoods near UCSF campuses.

“As we begin to use our electric buses, our neighbors should feel the positive effects of a cleaner and quieter shuttle fleet,” said Erick Villalobos, director of transportation at UCSF. 

The new fleet includes 15 K7 model, 30-foot battery electric buses from Build Your Dreams (BYD), a Los-Angeles based company with manufacturing facilities in Lancaster, Calif. The BYD transit bus design is fully tested and approved to be used by transit agencies in the United States, and the K7 model is used by Stanford University, UC Irvine and California transit agencies in Long Beach and Antelope Valley, Calif.

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the SF VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.