Student Transportation of Canada has placed a conditional order for 1000 electric school buses from Lion Electric, headquartered in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec. STC is a subsidiary of Student Transportation of America, a leader in student transportation in North America.
The purchase order is conditional upon the satisfactory grant of non-repayable contributions to STC under Infrastructure Canada’s Zero Emission Transit Fund for which STC has filed a formal application. Under the ZETF program, the Government of Canada intends to invest $2.75 billion over five years to support public transit and school bus operators in the transition to electrification.
If confirmed, this purchase order would allow STC to become the largest operator of zero emission school buses in North America. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2022 and continue through the first half of 2026. The Lion Electric LionC buses will replace existing diesel vehicles within STC’s Canadian fleet. The operator plans on working closely with its customers and partners to determine which school boards would adopt the electric buses, if and when the conditions of the order are met.
According to a press release, Lion estimates the deployment of 1,000 all-electric school buses will help eliminate approximately 23,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, in addition to significantly reducing noise pollution for the communities in which they operate.
“We applaud STC for its leadership and vision to accelerate the deployment of all-electric school buses in Canada, and we thank them for trusting Lion with such an important transition” said Marc Bedard, CEO of Lion Electric. “This large scale deployment would position Canada as a clear leader in the electrification of school transportation, in great part due to innovative programs like the ZETF. We are proud to be working together with STC…and the Canadian federal government to provide a cleaner future for our children.”
Chris Harwood, president of Student Transportation of Canada, adds, “We are pleased to support electric school bus deployment in Canada. The ZETF enables school bus electrification to move closer to reality, with students as the true beneficiaries. There is still much more work to be done, but STC recognizes that as global stewards we must act to operate sustainably. Electrification is a huge step toward improving the environment for our students and the communities we serve. We look forward to working with Lion, government leaders, our majority shareholder CDPQ, and our customers. Together, we hope to move toward a sustainable future.”
Lion Electric creates, designs, and manufactures battery-electric class 5 to class 8 commercial urban trucks as well as electric buses and minibuses for schools and public transportation agencies. It designs, builds, and assembles all the key components of its vehicles, including the chassis, battery packs, truck cabins, and bus bodies.
In an interview with CleanTechnica’s Kyle Field, Lion Electric president Marc Bédard pointed out one of the unique features of the company’s electric school buses — they can be customized according to the range needed, the availability of charging equipment, and the budget of the purchasing agency. Thanks to the modular design of the battery pack, each bus can be equipped with 3, 4, or 5 modules for a range of 70 to 100 miles. Naturally, buses with fewer battery modules are less expensive.
The big winners in all this are the students being transported. With a dozen or more diesel-powered buses parked at the curb in front of a school at dismissal time, they have to navigate a miasma of exhaust fumes and fine particulates, both of which have been shown to have a negative impact on the health and cognitive development of young people.
Does it make sense to send our children to school in vehicles that spew crud into the atmosphere that retards brain development and interferes with learning? Of course not. Our school children won’t be safe from the harm caused by diesel engines until all school buses run on electrons instead of molecules. It’s academic!
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