Electric buses are a super important part of the EV transition.
Most importantly (and obviously), they bring about significant environmental benefits by producing significantly lower emissions compared to traditional diesel buses. This helps reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the fight against climate change.
Immediate human health is also improved, as e-buses don’t emit harmful pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides. These pollutants have adverse effects on human health in general, but they’re especially bad for our lungs. By replacing diesel buses with electric ones, cities can create cleaner and healthier environments for their residents.
Another benefit for humans is that electric buses operate quietly compared to diesel buses, since they do not have combustion engines. This reduces noise pollution in urban areas, making public transportation more pleasant for passengers and improving the overall quality of life in cities.
And, the best news for local governments and transit agencies is that it doesn’t end up costing them more to get all of these benefits. While electric buses may have higher upfront costs than diesel buses, they offer long-term cost savings. They have lower operating costs due to their higher energy efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements. Additionally, they benefit from potentially lower fuel costs when compared to diesel or gasoline-powered buses.
Given all of these advantages, a lot of bus-related stories cross the CleanTechnica desk. But, the success of e-buses are starting to become part of the background noise. So, to keep things interesting, we try to put the stories together these days so readers can see not just one “X E-Buses Hit The Streets in Anytown” story, but several stories that show where the industry is going.
Blue Bird Delivers 13 Electric Schools Buses to Bowling Green, Kentucky
Blue Bird Corporation recently delivered 13 electric school buses to the Bowling Green Independent School District (BGISD) in Kentucky. The school district caters to around 4,400 students across eight schools. In a bid to promote the well-being of students and the community, BGISD has initiated a pilot program to augment its school bus fleet with zero-emission vehicles.
Blue Bird will be providing BGISD with ten Vision and three All American electric school buses. The Vision Type C electric buses have a capacity of 72 students and can travel up to 120 miles on a single charge. On the other hand, the All American Type D electric buses can transport up to 84 students the same distance. The charging time for both models ranges from three to eight hours, depending on the available charging infrastructure.
Every school day, these buses will cover a distance of up to 75 miles, following seven designated routes. Their primary purpose is to safely transport around 2,300 students to and from their respective schools.
“Bowling Green Independent Schools could not be more excited about ushering in a new era of zero-emission student transportation by acquiring our first 13 state-of-the-art electric school buses,” said BGISD Superintendent Gary Fields. “We are looking forward to a successful pilot program and to building on our relationship with Blue Bird.”
Bowling Green Independent Schools has been awarded a substantial grant of $5,135,000 through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate Program. This funding will facilitate the acquisition of an entire fleet of Blue Bird electric school buses. This commendable initiative is one element of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), a comprehensive legislation that allocates a total of $5 billion over five years to support clean school bus transportation nationwide.
In the previous year, the EPA distributed close to $1 billion in funding to school districts across all 50 states in America, resulting in the acquisition of over 2,400 clean school buses. Looking ahead to 2023, the EPA plans to extend its support by offering an additional $1 billion in funding for low- and zero-emission school buses, including $400 million in competitive grants.
“We are thrilled to help Bowling Green Independent Schools transition to electric buses and clean student transportation,” said Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Corporation. “The school district is poised to benefit greatly from Blue Bird’s high performing, advanced electric vehicles. Our Vision and All American buses perform exceptionally well in all weather conditions – from extreme heat to freezing cold – due to the outstanding thermal management of the batteries. In addition, we anticipate that the school district will realize significant savings. Blue Bird customers have reported an average 14 cents per mile in energy costs for electric buses compared to up to 49 cents per mile in fuel costs for their diesel buses.”
26 New E-Buses in Austin
Capital Metro Transportation Authority, also known as CapMetro, has exercised an option to acquire 26 zero-emission battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE NG™ 40-foot transit buses through its existing five-year contract with NFI subsidiary, New Flyer of America Inc. Initially announced in November 2021, the contract encompasses a total of up to 126 40-foot and 15 60-foot battery-electric buses. In the second quarter of 2023, NFI solidified its commitment by placing a firm order for the 26 40-foot electric vehicles, effectively adding them to its backlog.
As the primary public transportation provider in Austin, Texas, CapMetro facilitates over 20 million annual boardings through its bus, paratransit, and commuter rail services.
“Our partnership with CapMetro spans over 25 years, and, during this time, New Flyer has delivered more than 300 buses. NFI commends CapMetro on its commitment to environmental sustainability, a critical step on the path to a zero-emission future,” said Chris Stoddart, President, North American Bus and Coach, NFI. “The Xcelsior CHARGE NG is our latest EV – capable of avoiding up to 135 tons of greenhouse gas per year from tailpipe emissions – and will deliver innovative and sustainable mobility in the greater Austin region. Built on the proven Xcelsior platform, these EVs feature consistent vehicle design with all propulsion systems in CapMetro’s fleet, resulting in consistent training, parts, and service support on these vehicle systems.”
30 More Electric Buses for Malta
Malta Public Transport is announcing a historic investment of €20 million in the electrification of the public transport system with the inauguration of its first electric bus charging depot alongside the launch of 30 brand new, fully electric, zero-emission buses.
“We are proud to usher in a new era of sustainable public transport in Malta with the launch of our electric buses and charging depot,” remarked Felipe Cosman, Malta Public Transport Chairman, during the official launch ceremony. “This significant investment reflects our commitment to providing a greener, more efficient, and customer-centric transportation system for our community. Together, we can make a significant difference in our journey towards a cleaner and more sustainable future for Malta’s transportation.”
The official launch event was inaugurated by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Capital Projects, emphasizing the government’s support for the new buses.
Featured image provided by Blue Bird and Bowling Green ISD.
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