Electric carts replace school vans, help preserve environment

Roosh Bhosale, Alex Tinkham, and Thomas Hunt

As replacements for the gas-guzzling shuttle vans used during events, the School’s fleet added two red Transit Buddy electric carts.

Previously, for events such as Baccalaureate and Grandparents and Special Friends Day, four Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans carried families from the Taub lot to the South Campus. The new Transit Buddy carts have officially replaced the Sprinter vans and were used at the first home football game of the season.

Purchased in early August, the carts resemble elongated golf carts and feature wide seats and an electric front-wheel drivetrain. When not in use, the carts are parked in the basement of the Taub garage.

Two 48-volt batteries provide enough power to the 5 kiloWatt front-wheel motor for quick trips down Westheimer to the North Campus. Including the driver, each cart can fit up to 20 people and travel 50 miles per charge at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. For rainy days the carts are fitted with rollable plastic sides. The carts are not air-conditioned and feature a microphone-connected sound system.

“They remind me of the shuttles at Astroworld,” Security Manager Ross Paniagua said.

Leila Pulaski
The new carts will provide a safer, more environment-friendly way to transport people across campus.

The switch to electric carts comes in conjunction with other changes around campus such as fewer plastic utensils in the cafeteria. Although the carts cost $23,595 each, they reduce the School’s carbon footprint and provide a safer way to cross Buffalo Speedway than a crosswalk, especially at night.

“They’re great for the environment,” Paniagua said. “In the long run, the shuttles will hopefully prove to be very cost effective.”