Are electric school buses new EV technology? Not quite. In fact, the first electric bus was introduced in England in the early 1900s. Called the Electrobus, it could travel around 40 miles on a single charge — quite impressive for the time.
Fast forward to today, and concerns about climate change and air pollution have continued to grow. School districts are beginning to pivot from traditional diesel buses toward electric buses as a cleaner, more sustainable alternative. This change has the potential to have a significant impact because, as Smithsonian Magazine reports, school buses are America’s largest mass transit system — with more than 25 million schoolchildren riding about half a million school buses each week.
Accordingly, the electric school bus industry is rapidly growing. Although fewer than 1,200 of these buses were electric as of 2021, government investment could increase that number to 10,000 or more by 2026. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of this growing trend on communities across the country and answer some of the most common questions about electric school buses.
What are the environmental benefits of electric buses?
One of the main reasons school districts are switching to electric buses is the environmental benefits they provide. Electric buses produce zero emissions, which means they don’t contribute to air pollution or climate change via emissions. Traveling through residential areas and transporting children who are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, the environmental benefits of school buses are especially impactful.
Additionally, electric buses are much quieter than diesel buses, which can help reduce noise pollution in communities. Overall, the environmental benefits of electric buses are significant, driving more and more school districts to make the switch.
Electric school buses can save money for school districts.
Switching to electric buses can provide cost savings for school districts over time. While the upfront cost of electric buses is higher than traditional diesel buses, the long-term savings can be significant.
Electric buses have lower maintenance costs and require less frequent repairs, as they have fewer moving parts and don’t require oil changes. Additionally, electric buses have lower fuel costs, as electricity is generally cheaper than diesel fuel. In 2018, the Environmental Defense Fund compared the estimated lifetime cost of fueling a diesel bus at $76,000 versus $21,000 for an electric school bus.
Grant opportunities are also available through various federal agencies and state governments that may help offset some of the initial investment in an electric school bus. Over time, these cost savings can add up and make electric buses a cost-effective option for school districts.
What health benefits do electric school buses provide to students and communities?
School buses are used most weekdays, and they can be a major addition to existing sources of air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has linked emissions from diesel engines to cancer, asthma and other respiratory diseases, especially in children and elderly community members. By switching to electric school buses, you’ll reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in your community.
According to the EPA, Electric school buses also produce zero tailpipe emissions, meaning students will be exposed to less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter when riding them compared with traditional diesel-powered models. As a result of this cleaner air quality on board an electric bus, students will experience a more enjoyable ride, potentially making it easier for them to focus on their studies when they arrive at school!
Do electric school buses have better performance than traditional buses?
Electric school buses offer improved performance compared to traditional diesel buses. For example, electric buses have instant torque, which means they can accelerate quickly and smoothly, making them safer for students getting on and off the bus. They also have regenerative braking, which means they can recover energy when braking and use it to recharge the battery, increasing their overall efficiency.
What are the safety features of an electric school bus?
In addition to regenerative braking, which helps reduce the speed of the bus and recharge the battery, electric buses have a high-voltage interlock to prevent accidental contact with the electrical system. Electric school buses also have a quieter operation, which can reduce distractions and improve driver focus.
What is the lifespan of an electric school bus?
The lifespan of an electric school bus is similar to that of a traditional diesel bus, which is around 12-15 years. However, the battery of an electric bus may need to be replaced after 8-10 years, depending on usage and maintenance.
What is the range of an electric school bus?
According to the Electric School Bus Initiative, electric school buses currently have ranges of up to 210 miles for Type C buses. All Type A, C and D buses offer over 100 miles of range, enough to cover most bus routes.
There are many government incentives for electric buses.
One of the reasons more school districts are switching to electric buses is the availability of government incentives and support. The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, included $2.5 billion dedicated exclusively to electric school bus procurements and another $2.5 billion dedicated to clean school buses for which electric buses will be eligible, alongside alternative-fuel buses.
The EPA offers grants and funding opportunities for school districts to purchase electric buses. Additionally, some states offer tax credits or rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles, including school buses. These incentives and support make it more financially feasible for school districts to switch to electric buses, which ultimately benefits the environment and the health of students and communities.
Additionally, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has created the Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program that provides funding to help states purchase zero-emission buses. The FTA also offers grants to support the development of infrastructure needed to deploy electric school buses in areas where they are not yet available.
State agencies often offer incentives for purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric school buses, including tax credits and rebates on purchasing costs. California provides millions of dollars per year through its Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which offers rebates depending on vehicle type. Oregon and Washington have similar programs.
How much does an electric school bus cost initially?
The cost of an electric school bus varies depending on the manufacturer, size, and features. According to the Texas Observer, the cost of an electric school bus ranges from around $300,000 to $400,000. However, incentives and grants are available to help offset the cost.
What charging infrastructure is needed for electric school buses?
The charging infrastructure for electric school buses depends on the size of the fleet and the charging needs. A school district may need to install charging stations at the bus depot or other locations, such as schools or community centers.
Electric school buses can help the economy.
The economic impact of electric school buses is significant and goes far beyond the school districts themselves.
- Job creation: In addition to the jobs created by the manufacturers, there are also opportunities for local installers and service technicians in every region where these buses are used.
- Increased tax revenue: The purchase and operation of electric school buses will result in increased tax revenues from sales taxes on vehicles, property taxes on charging stations and other sources of government income, such as permits or fees associated with charging stations.
- Improved infrastructure: Electric charging stations will require additional power lines that can be installed at minimal cost if they’re already being built anyway — for example, when upgrading an existing substation or adding another entirely new location near where you need it most.
Electric school buses can help the power grid.
Electric school buses can provide a source of backup power during emergencies. According to Environment America, they can be equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which allows the batteries to discharge power back into the grid during times of high demand. This can help prevent blackouts and brownouts. Providing this service could potentially earn revenue for school districts.
Why should I consider buying an electric school bus from Schetky Bus & Van Sales?
You should consider buying from Schetky because we’re a well-established company that has been in the bus industry for over 100 years. We have a dedicated team of experienced sales and service personnel who are knowledgeable about electric bus technology and can provide expert advice to customers. Schetky offers a range of electric school buses from top manufacturers known for their reliability and efficiency.
Additionally, Schetky offers a comprehensive service and maintenance program to ensure that the buses continue to operate at their best for years to come. So, drive into the future with one of our electric school buses.
CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION
As America’s longest-established, family-owned bus dealer, we are here to provide you with an extensive inventory of electric vehicles as well as standard buses and vans. Make sure to keep an eye out for Schetky Bus & Van Sales electric school buses across the country! And please reach out to us with any questions. We would love to enter into a dialogue with you. Help us make this world cleaner and greener for everyone.