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City celebrates $4.8 million grant for additional electric buses
July 13, 2021

KNOXVILLE - The City of Knoxville has been awarded a $4.8 million federal grant for additional electric transit buses.

The Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program supports transit agencies in purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses and other transit vehicles that use advanced technologies to provide cleaner, more energy efficient transit service in communities across the country.

“This will go a long way in helping KAT transition to an all-electric fleet,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “With each new electric bus, we are reducing our carbon footprint. We are moving closer toward our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions associated with City operations by 50 percent by 2030 – and a communitywide reduction of 80 percent by 2050.”

As KAT's oldest diesel buses age, they are being replaced with state-of-the-art electric buses that, according to the Argonne National Laboratory, are about three times more fuel-efficient than a standard diesel bus (13 MPGDE vs. 4.4 MPG).

Knoxville Area Transit plans to use these federal funds, coupled with some local dollars, to add six additional electric buses to its fleet. This means the City could have 18 electric buses on area routes by the end of 2022.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to improve our fleet and help meet the City's sustainability goals with this continuing transition to all electric vehicles,” said Isaac Thorne, the City’s Director of Transit. “Our KAT passengers are excited about this move to all-electric, and so are we." U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty and Rep. Tim Burchett supported the City’s application for this grant.

“Knoxville Area Transit provides an important service for folks in Knoxville, which is why earlier this year I asked the Federal Transit Administration to give KAT’s Low-No application grant full consideration,” Rep. Burchett said. “I’m glad this grant was awarded to our community so KAT can modernize its fleet to be more efficient and environmentally friendly.”

KAT's goal is to have the entire 71-bus fleet running on electricity in about eight years.

For more information on the Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant program, visit

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