The doors to a Tesla Model X SUV swung open for the first time to five long-distance commuters, making it the first all-electric vehicle in OCTA’s Vanpool program.
The introduction of the first all-electric vehicle is another important step toward OCTA’s goal of providing a balanced and sustainable transportation system for Orange County, which includes vehicles that release zero emissions into the environment.
The Tesla X is provided by Green Commuter, one of three vanpool companies contracted by OCTA to provide vehicles to commuters in Orange County to help them share the ride as they travel to work.
The all-electric vanpool vehicle is being used by five employees who work in Seal Beach at the Naval Weapons Station. They commute approximately 140 miles roundtrip each day from near Murrieta in southern Riverside County.
“I greatly appreciate these essential employees from Seal Beach who come to work each day to serve our community. Their participation in OCTA’s Vanpool program helps take more cars off the road and protects the environment in the process,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.
Currently, the OCTA Vanpool program has 164 active vehicles, most of them that run on gasoline, and now the first all-electric vehicle, with more expected to be added to the fleet.
The overall number of vanpools currently running in Orange County is down sharply from approximately 470 operating prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, when many employees began working remotely.
Still, many essential workers at major Orange County employers such a UCI Medical Center, Quest Diagnostic and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) continue to operate vanpools.
OCTA helps cover approximately 25 percent of the cost of operating the vanpools each month. This program helps large companies provide an important benefit to employees, reduce parking needs, and meet regional air-quality requirements.
This year, OCTA has taken several steps in the continued effort toward zero-emission technology. In January, OCTA introduced a fleet of 10 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses and debuted the nation’s largest hydrogen fueling station at its Santa Ana Bus Base.
Then, in April, the OCTA board approved a pilot program for 10 plug-in battery-electric buses, scheduled to begin operating in late 2021.
For more information about starting a vanpool, visit www.octa.net/vanpool.
This article was released by the Orange County Transportation Authority.