The first electric school bus for Bend-La Pine Schools hitting the streets of Central Oregon.
The district acquired the electric bus through Pacific Power’s electric mobility grant program, in conjunction with the Oregon Clean Fuels Program administered by the state Department of Environmental Quality.
“We are proud to join the move toward clean transportation,” Bend-La Pine Superintendent Steven Cook said. “This is good for our community and our students, and it will result in cost savings over time.”
The school district collaborated with The Environmental Center in Bend in applying for the electric bus funding, according to a press release from the district.
“This is a really good example of how we were able to share our electric vehicle and infrastructure experience to support an amazing partner like Bend-La Pine Schools,” the center’s Transportation and Climate Advocacy Manager, Neil Baunsgard, said. “We look forward to sharing the learnings that we gain from the first electric school bus east of the Cascades with other school districts, and involving students in being a part of our transportation future.”
The $157,500 grant went toward the purchase of the LionC bus, manufactured by Lion Electric of Quebec, Canada. It uses a 250-kilowatt electric motor with lithium-ion batteries, with a top speed of 60 mph. Fully charged, the bus can travel up to 125 miles. There’s room for 71 students on board.
Bend-La Pine Schools has 127 buses in its fleet. Just over half are powered by propane, a cleaner-burning and less expensive fuel than diesel or gas.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said this was only the second electric school bus in Oregon. That was incorrect. The story has been revised.