By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 21, 2022 at 2:43 PM

As part of the construction of the nine-mile East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, from Tosa to Downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Transit System has installed the first electric bus charging station.

The charger, on Watertown Plank Road, is up and running.

The charger, which is part of the BRT stop at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa, is the first of two such chargers that will be installed. The other will be at The Couture – the BRT line's eastern terminus – which is currently under construction at Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

To keep the electric bus BEB batteries fully functioning, a charge management plan calls for topping off each bus battery for nine minutes every third lap of the 18-mile roundtrip route.  The buses will also be charged for two hours overnight.

Nova Bus, part of the Volvo Group, is building 11 all-electric LFSe+ buses that will arrive in Milwaukee in November. Four more are due to arrive next year.

BRT service is expected to begin in June. A second route, running along 27th Street, is currently being discussed.

 Here are some BRT Charging Station facts from MCTS:

  • 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.
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.