The School District of Philadelphia will be the first in PA to acquire electric school buses for students
The district hopes to acquire the buses right before the start of the new school year.
The School District of Philadelphia recently announced the purchase of five electric school buses for the 2021-2022 school year in an effort to reduce diesel emissions.
Funding for the buses was provided by Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) to provide a greener way of transportation. Through the District’s sustainability plan, GreenFutures, around five older school buses will be replaced every year to improve fuel economy and safety for students and drivers.
DERA provides grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.
An electric bus costs around $368,000, compared to $130,000 for a diesel-powered one.
The initiative is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Democratic lawmakers originally revealed the legislation back in April, which would invest $25 billion to replace the nation’s fleet of gasoline and diesel emission-powered school buses with electric vehicles.
The program is also part of the Biden Administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to improve children’s health.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses, and can worsen existing heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly.
By offering electric buses in place of gas and diesel-fueled buses, the air is cleaner, and the community would be healthier. Noise pollution would also decrease.
Danielle Floyd, general manager of transportation services for the School District of Philadelphia, said that by promoting the new plan, children who ride in school buses will have safer and more comfortable trips to and from school.
“While we’ve previously purchased clean diesel buses to replace our aging fleet, we are proud to be the first school district in the Commonwealth to begin investing in all-electric buses, providing not only climate and health benefits for our community, but allowing students to benefit from having a quiet, more relaxed ride,” said Floyd.
The district recently purchased eco-friendly buses from Lion Electric, an innovative manufacturer of all-electric school buses, with more than 400 vehicles on the road.
In addition to providing students with a safer way to go to-and-from school, electric buses have fewer moving parts, making them much easier to operate.
The electric buses have a range of up to 125 miles on a single charge.
Nate Baguio, vice president of Sales at Lion Electric, believes that by going electric, the district will save money in maintenance and energy costs, which would allow them to invest in children and put money back into classrooms.
He also believes that the school district of Philadelphia won’t be the last district to go green in place of diesel-fueled buses.
The district plans on acquiring the buses right before the Summer is over, just in time for the new school year.