Thompson-Okanagan school districts get electric buses | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Thompson-Okanagan school districts get electric buses

Seven electric school buses will soon be operating in school districts in the Thompson-Okanagan with the cost subsidized by a B.C. government subsidy.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
May 10, 2021 - 7:31 AM

Seven electric school buses will soon be available to some school districts in the Thompson-Okanagan with the cost subsidized by a B.C. government subsidy.

Thirteen school districts in B.C. have purchased a total of 18 electric school buses that will begin operating by the end of this school year. The new buses will provide service for about 1,300 K-12 students per day to and from school.

“By shifting gears from diesel to electric school buses, these K-12 students are benefiting from our government’s work to create healthier and more sustainable learning environments across B.C.,” Premier John Horgan said in a press release issued, May 6. “Electric school buses produce zero emissions and also support CleanB.C.’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030, helping build a cleaner, healthier future for all of us.”

The Vernon school district will get two electric buses, the Central Okanagan school district will get three, the Okanagan-Skaha school district will see one electric bus and the Kamloops-Thompson school district will also get one electric bus.

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 about 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually compared to a diesel school bus, according to the province.

“Our kids deserve a clean, healthy future, and that’s why we’re investing in zero-emission school buses in communities across B.C.,” Minister of Environment George Heyman said in the press release. “By acting now to address climate change, we’re demonstrating leadership for young people by reducing pollution, improving air quality and building a more secure future for our kids and grandkids.”

Electric school buses have many advantages compared to diesel school buses, including the cost of electricity compared to fuel and fewer moving mechanical parts, which means they require fewer repairs and less maintenance, the province said.

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 about $350,000, compared to the $150,000 average cost for an equivalent diesel school bus. The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has allocated supplemental funding of up to $150,000 toward the capital costs of each electric bus, according to the province.

The province said as a new initiative launched by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation in April 2020, this is the first time school districts in B.C. have been able to purchase electric buses through funding from both ministries. School districts that buy electric buses also have access to provincial funding for charging station infrastructure.


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