Twin Rivers, Sacramento
The Twin Rivers district in North Sacramento is one of the largest school districts in California, and is transitioning to a 100% diesel-free fleet by 2021. They currently have 40 electric school buses provided by Lion Electric. Each bus has a range of 100 miles. While electric school buses may cost up to 2.5 times more up front, districts typically save 80% on maintenance and 72% on fuel compared to a standard diesel bus. To help cover the cost to purchase the buses in Sacramento, the district received grants from energy commissions and air pollution control agencies. This brought the purchase price to about $55,000 per bus. School buses were considered good candidates to try electric vehicles because they have fixed routes and spend the rest of their day in location where they are able to charge. The reduction in diesel emissions has environmental and public health benefits for the community. The buses are also much quieter than a typical school bus, which allows bus drivers to hear students more easily.
Amherst, Cambridge, & Concord
Three school districts in Massachusetts received grants from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources as part of a pilot program for electric school buses. Each was able to purchase one bus and one charger with the grant money. The use of electric school buses improves air quality in the area by reducing diesel emissions, which is beneficial to the environment as well as the health of students. The buses require less maintenance than a standard diesel bus, as they have fewer engine components. Lower maintenance and fuel costs can save districts money throughout the lifetime of the bus. The bus is also much quieter, meaning drivers can communicate more easily with students. These buses also allow for bi-directional charging. Bi-directional charging means that power can flow in either direction between the school bus battery and another building or the power grid. The school bus battery can then be used as backup power during outages. It can also be charged at times when demand is low, such as overnight, and then discharge to the grid at times of high demand to reduce the peak electricity load and keep prices lower. So far the buses have received good ratings from students, parents, and school administration in these areas.
White Plains School District has received 5 electric school buses as part of a pilot program with Con Edison, a local utility company. The electric buses were provided at no cost to the district, and are used by the company as backup power during the summer when students aren’t in school. The buses have vehicle-to-grid technology that allows their batteries to charge overnight when energy costs are low and then discharge back into the grid at peak times during the day. Energy usage is highest during the summer, when the buses aren’t needed by the school district, and serve as a great resource to lower stress on the grid at peak demand times. The buses are also beneficial in reducing emissions, and estimates have shown that 185,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be eliminated each year by switching to electric buses in Westchester County and New York City. The buses are able to drive 66 miles per charge, and require significantly less maintenance than a diesel bus. Satisfaction has been high so far for this pilot, which is the first V-2-G program in the region.
Zeeland, Ann Arbor, Gaylord, Kalamazoo, Oxford, Roseville & Three Rivers
Districts throughout Michigan will be receiving a total of 17 electric school buses. These buses have zero emissions, making them a safer, more sustainable option for the communities. They allow for bi-directional charging, meaning that power can be transferred from the bus battery back to another building or to the grid if needed. The buses are much quieter than a diesel bus and much healthier for students due to lack of harmful engine exhaust. The buses are being used as an educational tool for students in the district to teach them about electric vehicle and alternative fuel technology. They serve as a daily reminder of sustainability and its implications.
Tacoma, Washington was the location of the first electric school bus in the state. The bus was purchased with the aid of two grants totaling over $300,000, and adds to the 77 other buses in the district’s fleet. The district is hoping to obtain 10 more electric school buses over the next 5 years. The buses are much quieter than an average bus and have zero emissions, unlike a diesel engine. Students in the district are very passionate about creating a more sustainable future, and are hoping to take electric buses as part of their daily commute.