The US state of Virginia announced plans to electrify their school buses, with the first 50 to be in use by next year, and a series of additions to be made over the next five years.
According to Governor Ralph Northam, the aim is to get 50 electric buses online by 2020, and another 1,000 over the next five years. He adds that the environment is not the only incentive for the switch to electric mobility: “If we’re going to drive our economy forward, if we’re going to train tomorrow’s workforce we need to expose our children to new technology and innovation.”
Beyond the five-year initiatives planned, the governor also hopes that electrification will take place on a broad scale in their state: “By 2030 I think it should be a goal of ours to have all of the buses that travel the roads in Virginia electric.”
Electric School Buses: Gov. Northam says public school fleets will start to transition to electric in three phases. Phase 1) 50 electric buses by 2020; 2) 1,000 buses over the next five years; 3) aiming for all electric by 2030. pic.twitter.com/1mU0YWr1dK
— Carl Willis (@CarlWillisTV) August 29, 2019
While an initial investment cost is of course set, the state also calculated long-term savings by making the switch, as well as the fact that they do not aim to burden the education system with the costs. The charging stations & infrastructure will also be provided at no cost to schools, and the buses cost about 60% less to operate in the long term.
Environmental factors were of course also not ignored in the technology boom and savings calculations: “This program is going to improve health at the community level, the bus stop level, and on the trip to school level and will do so in an amazing and innovative way,” Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.