TACOMA, Wash. — Franklin Pierce Schools received the district’s and the state’s first electric school bus on Monday.
School district officials, along with Gov. Jay Inslee, students, parents, and several other state and local officials in the community, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the delivery of the new electric bus, according to a news release from the governor's office.
“In Washington, we’re electrifying planes, trains, ferries, and automobiles,” Inslee said. “And today, we’re showing we can electrify buses, too. It’s exciting to celebrate the first electric school bus in Washington state because this effort is ultimately all about our kids and their future.”
The all-electric Blue Bird bus is part of Franklin Pierce Schools' effort to replace its fleet of diesel school buses, according to a news release from the district.
In October 2018, Franklin Pierce Schools was awarded two grants, one totaling $330,155 to purchase the electric bus and another in the amount of $65,858 to install a 20-kilowatt (kW) solar electricity generation system at Keithley Middle School, from the TransAlta’s Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board with guidance from ATS Automatic Building Solutions, according to the district.
Franklin Pierce Schools said the new electric bus can travel up to 120 miles, and features an educational energy dashboard. The district also said that it will be working with Tacoma Public Utilities to charge the bus, optimize routes, and conduct planning for its electric school bus pilot program.
As SBF previously reported, earlier this month, West Fargo Public Schools also unveiled the district’s and North Dakota's first electric-powered school bus. The district received funding from several state and local agencies for the purchase of one electric Blue Bird bus in addition to a charging station.
Bradley Redmond, the transportation director for West Fargo Public Schools, said that the district estimates that it will save approximately 70% in energy costs and 70% to 80% in maintenance costs with the new bus.