The Chelan County PUD is tracking a LINK Transit feasibility study on a new charging station for its fleet of electric buses. 

The station would be able to charge bus batteries with a megawatt an hour for between three and nine hours.  

Chelan PUD Director of Customer Service Andy Wendell says the charging station will be a major move for the transit and transportation in general. 

"We believe this battery storage system is, kind of, that next evolution in transportation and charging," Wendell said. "So, we're keeping a close eye on that." 

Management staff at the PUD recently discussed Link’s efforts with a possible new charging station when reviewing electrical load growth in the county at a commissioners meeting. 

PUD Commissioner Randy Smith says he was impressed when a representative from Seattle's transit system mentioned Link Transit CEO Richard DeRock in a conversation. 

"One from King County Metro who is in charge of electrifying their fleet," said Smith. "And she is referring to what Richard DeRock is doing here is significant. I mean, they're paying attention to Link at King County Metro." 

Link Transit has a reputation as a pioneer in electric buses, having first started operating them in 2014. 

The initial vehicles and chargers began to experience significant problems with the batteries and charging system, and were done away with in 2017. 

Several 35 foot BYD K9S battery electric buses delivered in  2017 were replaced by the manufacturer with more reliable buses the next year. Five additional buses of the same model were later added. 

Earlier this year, Link took delivery of 9 additional 30 foot BYD coaches, and 2 35 foot coaches, bringing the total number of electric vehicles in its fleet to 23. 

Since 2018, Link has been using  a number of charging stations from Momentum Dynamics at its primary transit center. 

The Link Transit website credits its work with several companies for helping to build the base for electrified buses moving forward.  

"The partners involved in making this project a reality have reaped benefits far beyond financial gain, the website passage reads. "They have pushed forward technology that will allow more efficient and faster implementation of battery electric buses at other transit systems across the nation. This is the first of many steps to build a real, sustainable, clean energy economy for America." 

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