MCTS Installs First Battery Electric Bus Charger

An electric bus connected to an electric bus charger.
The pantograph connects to the Nova Bus rooftop in what’s called a “handshake” to quietly and efficiently charge the electric bus. Electric buses improve air quality and reduce noise pollution due to their zero-emission profile.
This article was originally posted on on September 23, 2022.

Progress continues on Milwaukee County’s innovative East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line with the installation of the first charging station at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa.

Milwaukee County Transit System’s (MCTS) planned 9-mile, regional, modern transit line is scheduled to begin service in June 2023, connecting to major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Near West Side, Marquette University, Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

To help ensure these BEB batteries are always fully functioning, MCTS has implemented a charge management plan, which calls for topping off each bus battery every third lap of the 18-mile roundtrip route, for nine minutes. Then, each night, the fleet of battery electric buses will be charged for approximately two hours overnight.

Currently, the new in-route charging station is undergoing testing at the west-end turn around at the Park and Ride lot located at Watertown Plank Road and Swan Boulevard.

BRT Charging Station Facts:

  • The charging pole at Watertown Plank Road stands 15 feet tall and weighs 3,000 pounds.
  • ABB, a world leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, manufactured the 450-Kilowatt charger, part of the E-mobility HVC-PD charging system.
  • The charging arm, called a pantograph, lowers and connects to the rooftop of the bus and charges the electric bus in as little as three to six minutes.
  • The battery-electric buses can operate up to 247 miles on a single charge.

Nova Bus, a leading North American transportation manufacturer that’s part of the Volvo Group, will produce the all-electric LFSe+ buses for MCTS. Eleven battery buses will start to arrive in November. Four additional buses arrive in 2023. For more information about the East/West BRT, visit