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Vermont electric school bus

Three Vermont districts are adding electric buses

Nov. 15, 2021
The Vermont Energy Investment Corp. will track emission improvements as part of a pilot program.

Two electric buses that are part of a pilot project in Vermont will be on the road next week in the Barre school district.

Three Vermont districts are taking part in the pilot program to test their effectiveness in colder climates, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports.  

The Champlain Valley district and the Franklin West Supervisory Union have been running two electric buses each since the start of the 2021-22 school year, and the Barre school district is set to receive two buses this month, reports VTDigger

The program will test buses from three different companies. 

Officials say the pilot program could save up to $36,000 in fuel costs compared with a diesel vehicle. Officials say that electric school buses are expensive compared with their diesel counterparts. A typical diesel-powered bus costs about $90,000, and the buses in the pilot program cost between $336,000 and $350,000. 

Each bus charger for the program costs about $12,000. The buses have 100-mile battery packs, but they can’t travel 100 miles between charges because of variables along the routes, such as hills. Cold weather also shortens the battery range. 

The total cost of the pilot is about $4 million. About $3 million comes from Vermont’s share of the national Volkswagen “clean diesel” fraud settlement. The school districts provided funding equal to the cost of a replacement diesel bus.

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