Massachusetts Funds Electric School Bus Pilot Program


Just the other day, Gas2 regular AaronD12 posted a comment on a story we did about new emissions regulations for heavy trucks. Why, he wanted to know, do we not put the highest priority on reducing emissions from diesel powered school buses? Surely sending our children off to school in vehicles that expose them to copious amounts of carbon dioxide and NOx emissions can’t be good for their health, can it?

Lion Electric School Bus

Well, Aaron, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts agrees with you and it is putting its money where its mouth is. Massachusetts will spend $1.4 million to fund a pilot program that will test the viability of using electric school buses from Lion Bus. The money will benefit 4 school systems within the state and includes electric charging stations for the buses. The state’s Department of Energy Resources expects each bus to save nearly 23,000 gallons of fuel annually while providing a zero emissions environment for the school children on board.

“Massachusetts schools are leading the way by testing clean and resilient energy technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector,” commented Governor Charlie Baker. “This innovative project will also reduce fuel costs and aid our commitment to a cleaner future for the Commonwealth.”

“The new type C electric bus from Lion Bus, called the eLion, first hit the roads in Canada and the United States in 2015. Powered by a TM4 electric motor, the bus can travel up to 75 miles on a full charge. It will be available in multi-function school activity and commercial applications with up to a 72 passenger capacity,” says Marc-Andre Page, marketing manager for Lion Bus.

The company is now supplying electric school buses to communities across Canada and the eastern United States. They look just like a conventional bus, except they have no exhaust pipe belching fumes out the back. Depending on customer needs, each bus can be equipped with up to five 28.5 kWh battery packs. Each pack requires 1.3 hours to recharge using the company’s proprietary charging equipment. Since most buses are used in the morning and again in the afternoon, they can be recharged and ready to go during the days while students are in school.

Source: CleanTechnica  Photo credit: Lion Bus

About the Author

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it’s cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • kevin mccune

    We are probably not saving money ,but we are starting to adopt better tech.Now if we could get some “clean ” nukes on line ,Read up on the subject and become informed,Dr Strangelove lives.

  • GregS

    I always thought it would be a good idea to cover the roof of these buses in solar panels. I realize they don’t put out enough juice to power the bus in normal driving, but it could take some of the load off the battery and extend it’s range.
    A major advantage to the panels, is that the buses usually sit idle between the morning and afternoon, this time could be used to recharge the battery. However the biggest plus is that these buses don’t usually do a whole lot in the Summer, so they could sit their plugged into the grid for 3 months generating electricity when it is most needed.

  • neroden

    In addition to the huge health benefits, this is going to save money. School buses are expensive to fuel, expensive to maintain, and generally inefficient, as well as having fairly short lifespans. School districts with battery-electric buses will save money over the lifetime of the bus — money which can be used for education instead.