-  Image Courtesy of IC Bus

Image Courtesy of IC Bus

Electric vehicles (EV) have evolved out of the “not me” stage and entered popular culture as a way to not only reduce gasoline and diesel fuel costs, but also to reduce emissions regionally, nationally, and globally. Almost every OEM, from passenger car to commercial vehicle, has unveiled an aggressive EV agenda, giving everyone a chance to go electric, even school districts.

Battery-electric school buses offer districts a feasible, cost-saving alternative to diesel buses that reduce emissions and cut fuel spend. These innovative EVs decrease tailpipe emissions to zero, giving students a cleaner, healthier ride to school day in and day out. The message you send by purchasing and utilizing electric school buses can have a rippling effect on the community as a whole, letting parents and caregivers understand how important their children’s health is to the district leadership.

Getting the Message out

The process for planning, purchasing, and implementing electric school buses is lengthy, and it is best to include all stakeholders in the development of the program from day one. District leadership should announce the plans to electrify the fleet to students, parents, and residents alike early — they all have a stake in this. This can be done a number of ways: host a district informational meeting, send emails with specifics on the intended plans, hold webinars on electrification, and highlight the news on each school’s website.

Materials should be created that explain how these new buses will work, the costs involved, information on possible grants and funding, the benefits of zero-emission vehicles, and how the right routes are being determined for these new vehicles. To provide stakeholders with assurances about the transition to EV, the team at IC Bus can help by socializing the district goals and communicate the positive impact of electrification, along with the plan and partnerships to reach desired goals. Since some people need to see the benefits before agreeing to change, transparency will help to give everyone in the district peace of mind about this new venture.

This communication should continue throughout the entire process, all the way to the finish line. This will give students, parents, and the entire school community a connection to this new way of transporting pupils — a cleaner, safer, and healthier way.

Benefitting Disadvantaged Communities

Disadvantaged communities have come to bear the brunt of the ongoing rise in unhealthy emissions. These areas are commonly located around industrial areas such as warehouses and ports, where there are extremely high levels of noxious emissions in the air. The residents of these areas, especially the children, experience ongoing health issues and suffer from respiratory ailments such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.

Adding a fleet of electric school buses can not only give students some relief from the ongoing poor air quality issues, but it can also give them hope for a better tomorrow. School districts in these areas can also promote their sustainability efforts to local businesses, calling on them to make similar improvements in fleets by replacing their aging gas and diesel vehicles with near-zero and zero-emission vehicles powered by electricity, propane, and natural gas. This campaign to improve the environment for everyone in the community can have lasting effects, even changing the minds of drayage fleet and warehouse owners, leading them to revisit the possibility of moving to a cleaner burning fuel for their fleets.

Cleaning up the nation — and the world — is not an overnight process. It will take every stakeholder involved to understand the need for change and the ways to make it happen. Visit icbus.com/electric to learn how we can help you and your district in their efforts to reduce emissions and provide a cleaner, healthier ride to your students.