City of Santa Monica

Staff Report

Purchase of One Battery Electric 40-Foot Bus from Gillig LLC


Department:Big Blue Bus, Transit MaintenanceSponsors:
Category:03. Consent Calendar

Recommended Action

Recommended Action
Staff recommends that the City Council:

1.     Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a sixth modification to Agreement #9855 with Gillig, LLC, a California-based company, to furnish and deliver one 40-foot battery electric bus (BEB) in an amount not to exceed $429,559. This would result in a four-year amended agreement with a new total amount not to exceed $45,643,006.

2.     Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute an agreement with the Center for Transportation and Excellence (CTE) to assist in the assessment of charging equipment and BEB technology for the BEB. This recommended award is made as an exception to the competitive bidding process pursuant to Section 2.24.080 (A) and is for an amount not to exceed $131,500, with future year funding contingent on Council budget approval


Staff Report Body


In response to Council’s direction that the Big Blue Bus pilot an electric bus to initiate the transition to an all-electric fleet by 2030, staff reached out to Gillig, LLC, the City’s provider of BBB motor coaches, to develop a pilot whereby the City would swap out one planned Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus for a prototype Battery Electric Bus (BEB). The additional cost for the BEB, including spare parts, training, contingency and warranty, is $429,559.


Staff also recommends that the City enter into a separate contract with the Center for Transportation and Excellence (CTE) as an exception to the competitive process to assist in the assessment of charging equipment and the BEB technology. This would allow staff to model the new technology and prepare for the 12-year transition to an all-electric fleet. The contract for CTE to perform its analysis is $131,500.



BBB has long shared a commitment to finding the most environmentally sustainable vehicles that meet its operational needs. In response to Council’s direction, the Big Blue Bus now seeks to prototype an electric bus and develop a strategy to move its entire fleet to electric by 2030.  In recognition of the City’s desire to move to battery electric technology, Gillig has approached the City to partner in modifying its current order of buses to include one BEB transit bus. This would be considered a cardinal change to the current contract with Gillig by the Federal Transit Administration and would require a sole source justification as an exception to competitive bidding in addition to a separate contract modification.


Gillig’s proposed partnership with BBB is to test a prototype of an all-electric propulsion system designed and built by Cummins for use in a heavy-duty bus. BBB has reduced the current bus order of 20 Near-Zero CNG Gillig buses to 19 CNG buses, and would purchase one BEB from Gillig as part of this order.  The partnership would allow the BBB the opportunity to model, evaluate and prepare its operations for the new technology. Staff anticipates the delivery of the prototype BEB by the end of calendar year 2018.


BBB is also proposing to bring on the Center for Transportation and Excellence (CTE) to assist in performing an analysis of its routes and the Gillig BEB to develop an understanding of the operational profile and charging requirements for future BEB deployment. CTE is performing a similar scope of work for the Department of Transportation Services of the City and County of Honolulu (DTS), which received an Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) grant to purchase and deploy four Gillig BEBs in 2019.  Through a partnership between BBB and DTS, CTE could leverage some of the work they are performing for DTS to lower the total cost of services to BBB.



The proposed partnerships with Gillig and Cummins are of benefit to the City as the remaining bus elements would all remain the same and eliminate any other variables from this new technology. Since 2013, Gillig has provided BBB with 105 buses with Cummins CNG engines. Staff has found the buses to be very reliable and both Gillig and Cummins have proven to be responsible partners in providing training, replacement parts, and customer support.


Staff recommends the purchase of one prototype 40-foot Gillig BEB transit bus as a replacement for one 2004 LNG bus that has reached its useful life of twelve years.  This would reduce the current contract order of 20 CNG buses to 19.


Staff also recommends contracting with CTE to assist in the assessment of charging equipment and the BEB technology, to conduct operational performance models on five BBB routes, and to analyze charging system utilization and electricity rates. CTE would also assist staff in the vehicle build, periodic inspections, and deployment of the bus, including performance reporting for the first year. Adding CTE to assist in data analysis and sharing of data with the City of Honolulu, we could collaborate and strategically plan the best way to introduce this technology into our system. 


The cost of the prototype BEB is as follows: 

Base price for BEB (includes ADA, Delivery & Tax)              $ 886,594

Less amount authorized for Near Zero CNG bus               (632,035)

Net increase for BEB prototype technology              $ 254,559

Contingency              50,000

Spare Parts              50,000

Training              75,000

Total Increase to Gillig Contract              $ 429,559

CTE Program Management              131,500

Total Authorization Requested               $ 561,059


Vendor Selection


Exception to Competitive Bidding

Staff recommends Gillig Corporation to furnish and deliver one (1) Battery Electric Bus (BEB) prototype as an exception to the competitive bidding per Muni Code 2.24.080 (d). Gillig and the Big Blue Bus are partnering to test a new all electric propulsion system designed and built by Cummins for sue in a Heavy Duty BEB.  Based on planned bus purchases, Gillig will have manufactured and delivered 72.5% of BBB's fleet of transit buses. This sole source procurement is a benefit to the City as the non-propulsion related bus elements will all remain the same, and eliminate any other variables from this new technology.


Only one vendor possesses the unique ability or capability to meet the particular requirements of the solicitation, such as a good or service that is copyrighted, patented or otherwise only available from one license holder. The purchase is economically available from a single source because: Compatibility of equipment is of paramount consideration.


Staff recommends Gillig to furnish and deliver one prototype 40-foot BEB transit bus as an exception to the competitive process basis and to negotiate a contract based on our current CNG contract. A sole source request has been approved. The bus would be used for proof of concept, allowing BBB to learn what infrastructure and process changes would be needed to incorporate battery electric transit buses into its fleet.

CTE is experienced in developing, implementing, and administering advanced transportation technology projects, with a focus on zero-emission transit buses. The lack of widespread deployments could present challenges for transit agencies unfamiliar with zero-emission technology, as there are specific operating characteristics and fueling requirements associated with its deployment. Leveraging CTE’s concurrent work with DTS would provide operational strategy, support, and data for replacing the remainder of BBB’s fleet of transit buses with BEB’s at a reduced cost to the City.


CTE has provided technical assistance and project management services on many zero-emission bus deployment projects made possible through a variety of FTA programs. Overall, CTE is assisting more than 50 transit agencies that have either deployed, or would soon deploy, more than 200 zero emission buses including Alameda County Transit, Tri-Met (Portland, Oregon), San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and Central Contra Costa County Transit Authority.  CTE’s experience would greatly benefit the City of Santa Monica staff in learning from other transit agency experiences with BEB


Past Council Actions

Meeting Date




(Attachment A)

Purchase of 27 Gillig CNG Buses (7 30’ and 20 40’ buses)


(Attachment B)

BBB Fleet Composition Study Session


Financial Impacts and Budget Actions

The contract modification to be awarded to Gillig, LLC is for an amount not to exceed $429,559 which includes a $50,000 contingency.  The sole source contract to be awarded to CTE is $131,500.  Funds are available in the Proposed FY 2018-20 Capital Improvement Program budget. The purchase orders would be charged to account C6004810.689000.



Meeting History

Jul 24, 2018 5:30 PM  City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft