Rolling along: the Marguerite is a free, universally available shuttle service that runs throughout Stanford and the greater Palo Alto area.

Rolling along: the Marguerite is a free, universally available shuttle service that runs throughout Stanford and the greater Palo Alto area. Photo by Hollie Kool

Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle system began testing three all-electric buses for its university-owned service to determine the efficiency and plausibility of converting the whole shuttle bus fleet to electric-power.

The recent implementation of the three electric buses into the university’s free shuttle service brings the total number of buses running on renewable energy sources up to eight.

“People really appreciate the fact that we’re taking steps [with the diesel-electric hybrid] to reduce our reliance on petroleum-based fuels, and with the electric even more so,” said Brodie Hamilton, the director of Stanford University Parking & Transportation Services. “We’re scheduled to do a six month trial on it [the electric buses] and during that time we’ll do a determination on whether it’s really going to meet our needs.”

According to Hamilton, the diesel-electric buses make it through a full day on one night of charge. During the trial run for the total electric buses, they will determine whether the full electric buses can do the same.

“If we can get the miles per charge that we need out of them, then I would see us changing over time to total electric,” Hamilton said.
The Marguerite is Stanford’s free public shuttle service, which travels around campus and connects to nearby transit, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The vast majority of the Marguerite’s 57 buses are standard diesel buses. Five of them are diesel-electric hybrids, which the university introduced in March 2011.