Ala.’s Fort Payne City Schools added the state’s first all-electric school buses to its fleet. The buses are Blue Bird All American models, equipped with the Cummins 100% electric PowerDrive system, which produces zero emissions.
Dr. Laran Adkins, transportation director for Fort Payne City Schools, wrote the grant that secured the funding that allowed the district to purchase the two electric-powered buses. “We were able to secure $1 million in funding from the Volkswagen Settlement, making it possible for us to add these green buses to our fleet,” said Dr. Adkins. “Twenty percent of the funds were matched by the district toward the purchase of these electric buses.”
For students going back to school, the buses offer additional safety features, such as rear back-up cameras, Wi-Fi, and upgraded ventilation systems to help mitigate the spread of viruses and bacteria.
“The air conditioners on these buses are equipped with air filtration systems, to help mitigate bacteria and viruses that students can breathe in,” said Superintendent Jim Cunningham. “Every bus in our fleet is equipped with air conditioning systems.”
The buses will recharge at the district’s on-site charging station and are designed to operate in a variety of environments. Blue Bird’s electric buses offer comparable vehicle performance to traditional internal combustion engines while eliminating the need for conventional fuel, as well as oil, fuel, and air filters. It also eliminates the need for transmission service, emissions systems, DEF, and regens.
“As a manufacturer based in the southeast, we are thrilled to deliver the first electric school bus in the state of Alabama,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “We are looking forward to seeing the maintenance cost savings the district will experience, and how this clean, efficient, and safe transportation power source will move the Fort Payne community forward.”
The school district was also able to add an additional two diesel buses to their fleet, along with the two electric buses. The district said this will help them save in the long-run and operate more efficiently this school year.