– Three New All-Electric Shuttles Will Help Visitors Quickly Access Zoo Central –
BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo announced today the replacement of its diesel-powered shuttles with three all-electric vehicles to transport visitors from the main entrance into the heart of the Zoo and back.
Two 11-passenger ADA compliant shuttles and one 14-passenger shuttle provide Zoo visitors a quick, clean ride along Buffalo Yard Road into Zoo Central. Guests looking to ride the electric shuttles can board at Eagle Gate for inbound rides and next to Naturalist Lodge for return trips.
“We are committed to doing our part to reduce adverse environmental impacts on the planet and the species we share it with,” said Kirby Fowler, president & CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “Every step we take to reduce reliance on fossil fuels helps to further our mission while also improving the Zoo environment for both visitors and animals.”
The zero-emissions shuttles are brightly painted in Zoo colors and can travel for up to 60 miles per charge. The shuttles are each equipped with 12 six-volt batteries and offer a comfortable mode of transportation for guests while at the same time reducing the Zoo’s carbon footprint. Switching from the two diesel engine shuttles to electric saves the Zoo upwards of $30,000 in fuel costs annually and removes approximately 286 kg of carbon dioxide from the air per day.
Grant funding from the Maryland Department of the Environment’s EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) helped support the purchase of the new shuttles from Specialty Vehicles.
“The Maryland Department of the Environment is proud to support the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s replacement of diesel-powered trams with new electric models,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “Having just returned from the United Nations’ Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, I have to say the timing of this announcement and the message it sends to others could not be greater. Transportation electrification is key to a greener and healthier tomorrow globally and locally. Cleaner air for the zoo’s visitors, employees, animals, and, especially, the many children who enjoy the attractions means a brighter future for all.”
The switch from all diesel-powered shuttles to an all-electric fleet is just the latest in a series of recently announced sustainability efforts at the Zoo. In June, the Zoo partnered with BGE to unveil three electric vehicle charging stations located outside Eagle Gate in the public right of way. And in July, the organization and its food concessionaire, SSA, announced the elimination of single-use plastics from daily operations, instead offering reusable utensils and replacing all plastic bottles sales with recyclable aluminum bottles.