A Texas school district recently received the first three electric school buses to be deployed in the state.
Everman Independent School District (ISD) began transporting students this school year with the Blue Bird Vision Electric buses, according to a news release from the school bus manufacturer.
“The electric buses were a great opportunity to bring new technology and safety to the school district in the form of transportation, and to the state of Texas,” said Jason Gillis, transportation director for Everman ISD. “We’ve been monitoring our energy costs for our electric buses and we are already experiencing a substantial savings in fuel costs. These buses are the best thing for our community and our kids, allowing the district to save money and improve air quality.”
Gillis told School Bus Fleet that the buses went into service on Oct. 15.
Blue Bird’s electric school buses reportedly produce zero emissions and have fewer parts when compared with a diesel bus. Their performance is comparable to a bus powered by a combustion engine, and their quiet performance allows the driver to better hear the passengers they are transporting, according to the school bus manufacturer.
“We look forward to seeing the environmental- and cost-saving benefits that Everman ISD will experience with these electric-powered school buses,” said David Bercik, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bird. “We applaud the work that everyone has done to get the funding for these buses and see a bright future ahead for cleaner transportation in the state of Texas.”
With help from its local dealer, Rush Bus Centers, and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, the district was able to fund the buses and charging stations with grants from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds. Based on data the district has provided, it is looking to save over $4,000 a year on fuel savings and $2,000 a year on maintenance savings when compared with the diesel buses in its fleet.
“As the technology and electric systems of these vehicles become more advanced over time, we believe they will become a popular choice for many districts, and we are excited to be a part of it,” said W.M. “Rusty” Rush, chairman, CEO and president of Rush Enterprises Inc.
In other Blue Bird news related to electrification, the manufacturer announced on Wednesday that it now has delivered or has on order 300 electric school buses. The 300th Blue Bird Vision Electric bus will soon be delivered to the Northeastern region of the U.S., according to a news release from the manufacturer.
Blue Bird also noted that with impending upgrades to its electric lineup, the buses will charge even more efficiently in cold-weather climates.
“When it comes to cooler weather, the operation of the bus is generally unaffected,” said Trevor Rudderham, senior vice president of electrification for Blue Bird. “What can be affected, however, is the charging of the batteries. Our new upgrades will make charging more efficient with improved battery insulation and our standard CCS1 connector, which allows for both AC and DC fast charging.”