Falls Church City, Virginia, Public Schools held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 14 to celebrate the delivery of its two newest school buses for its fleet. The district is partnering with Dominion Energy and Virginia's exclusive Thomas Built Buses dealer Sonny Merryman in introducing two Thomas Jouley electric school buses.
"We are thrilled to introduce electric school buses to our fleet and lead the way in our region," Superintendent Peter. J. Noonan said. "This partnership with Dominion Energy and Sonny Merryman will benefit not only our students but also the environment and the community as a whole. FCCPS is strongly committed to sustainability - in both curriculum and facilities.”
The district was awarded $530,000 by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to help support the purchase of two electric school buses, according to a press release. The funding comes from Virginia’s $93.6 million allocation to the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, which supports initiatives to reduce air pollution. Dominion Energy funded the installation of the related Proterra charging infrastructure.
The Thomas Jouley buses are environmentally efficient, noise pollution-free, and fossil fuel-free. They can seat up to 77 students each and travel approximately 135 miles on a three-hour charge. An electric bus reduces operation and maintenance costs for schools by 60%. Replacing one diesel bus with an electric bus is equivalent to removing five cars from the road.
Aside from reducing maintenance costs and emissions, the new buses’ batteries will be able to store and inject electric energy into the local power grid during periods of high demand when the buses are not needed for student transportation.
Falls Church City Public Schools educates more than 2,500 students. The school buses travel over 166,000 miles annually as they transport students to and from school and deliver them to field trip destinations and athletic events.
In her remarks, Transportation Director Regina Anderson said, “While everyone else has been waiting for this day, the transportation team has been preparing for this day. We’ve all trained on these electric buses, and as a transportation department, we are so proud to be able to shepherd this new transportation technology into the community.”