Fairfax School District received two Blue Bird electric school buses purchased with funds from...

Fairfax School District received two Blue Bird electric school buses purchased with funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund.

Photo courtesy Blue Bird Corporation

The first zero-emission school buses in Vermont joined the Fairfax School District fleet at the start of this school year as part of a pilot program through the Agency of Natural Resources Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund.

The program, managed by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, is testing how well electric school buses work in the state's climate and terrain.

“By participating in this pilot program, Fairfax School District is leading the state in adopting clean and economical Blue Bird electric school buses,” said Matthew Stevenson, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation (NASDAQ: BLBD). “Transitioning to these emission-free school buses make sense for school districts to help reduce their carbon footprints, which means cleaner air for our children.”

The two new Cummins-powered buses came from Anderson Motors Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England.

The school district is using Level 2 AC PowerPort charging stations from Nuvve Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: NVVE) for intelligent charging now, and the buses are vehicle-to-grid (V2G) ready if Fairfax decides to upgrade to Nuvve’s V2G DC fast chargers in the future. This platform allows the school bus batteries to store energy when the grid doesn’t have immediate need for it, which then lets fleets provide stored energy back to the grid when demand calls for it.

The district’s Blue Bird electric school buses are powered by the Cummins (NASDAQ: CMI) PowerDrive EV system, using technology from Nuvve.

“Electrifying our nation’s school bus fleet is no longer a future dream — it’s something we can achieve now when the various players in the industry work together to create cleaner rides for students and communities,” said Gregory Poilasne, chairman and CEO of Nuvve. “Nuvve is proud to partner with Anderson Motors Blue Bird Sales of New England, Cummins, and Blue Bird Corporation to provide a turnkey electrification solution for Fairfax School District. This is an example of how Nuvve can provide a path from intelligent charging to V2G to maximize the utilization and benefits of electric buses in Vermont and the Northeast.”

According to pilot program administrator Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the district can save as much as $36,000 in fuel costs for each of its electric buses compared with a diesel bus and annual greenhouse gas emissions will be approximately 97% lower than diesel.  

“Anderson Motors Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England is proud to be a partner in the first ever deployment of two Blue Bird electric school buses in the state of Vermont. Working with VEIC, Fairfax School District, Blue Bird Corporation, Cummins, Nuvve, and Green Mountain Power has been very rewarding. We are pleased to be a part of the successful initiative to electrify Vermont’s first electric school buses”, said Jim Anderson, Vice President of Anderson Motors Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England.

“This pilot program is the first in Vermont to establish a sustainable fleet with V2G technology, demonstrating how innovative zero-emissions technology is possible for communities across the nation,” said Brian Wilson, General Manager Electrified Components at Cummins. “Cummins has worked hard to innovate V2G-enabled software and implement it into all of our systems, giving our customers the ability to utilize this technology and optimize their infrastructure.”

The school district also added infrastructure and chargers to support their new zeroemissions buses as part of the program.