New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)

New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

Students in the North Island will be at the forefront of a zero-emission movement as both School District 84 and 85 will be getting a new electric school bus.

“People in rural communities can sometimes feel left behind with technological advancements,” says North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. “With these electric school buses, we’re investing in the future right now while making sure families get their kids to school safely. This shows that a greener, emissions-free future is possible for everyone, everywhere.”

The districts are two of thirteen across the province that have purchased a total of 18 electric school buses which will begin operating in B.C. communities by the end of this school year.

The Ministry of Education’s Bus Acquisition Program provided $13 million for 31 school districts to buy a total of 101 new buses, including 18 electric buses. The purchase price for each electric school bus is approximately $350,000, compared to $150,000 for an equivalent diesel school bus. And the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has allocated supplemental funding of up to $125,000 towards the capital costs of each of the more expensive electric buses.

Babchuk says that as a new initiative launched by the Ministry of Education in April 2020, this is the first-time school districts in B.C. have been able to purchase electric buses through funding from the Ministry. School districts that buy electric buses also have access to provincial funding for necessary charging station infrastructure.

Electric school buses have many advantages compared to diesel school buses. The cost of electricity is less than fuel and fewer moving mechanical parts means they require much less repair and maintenance.

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses. Overall, electric school buses are highly efficient, produce zero carbon dioxide emissions and are much more cost-effective to operate over time. A zero-emission electric school bus saves approximately 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually compared to a diesel school bus.

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North Island Gazette