West Virginia state legislators, assembly in interim classes this week at Cacapon State Park, is not going to vacuum diesel exhaust on faculty buses like Morgan County schoolchildren do each morning.
Instead, the legislator drives with clear, emission-free electrical faculty buses.
Three of the model new electrical buses had been parked outdoors the lodge at Cacapon State Park this morning, ready to take lawmakers to Berkeley Springs for dinner and sightseeing.
The three absolutely electrical buses are the one ones in West Virginia – one serving Ohio County, one serving Grant County and one serving Monongalia County.
But that is solely the primary pilot program.
Five extra will likely be shipped to different counties within the state within the coming months. Wirt County obtained one bus, Boone County obtained three, and Wyoming County obtained one.
Morgan County bid for 5 buses however did not win the electrical faculty bus lottery.
The counties that gained the lottery obtained $375,000 from a federal grant to buy every bus and an extra $20,000 per bus for charging infrastructure.
Mark Nestlen, vice chairman of GreenPower Motor Company, the maker of the electrical buses, expects the state’s whole fleet of about 3,000 diesel buses to get replaced by electrical buses within the coming years.
Greenpower will start manufacturing further electrical faculty buses in January 2023 at its South Charleston, West Virginia facility, which makes buses for the market east of the Mississippi River.
“Across the country and in West Virginia, you’re sitting at the start of a brand new school day,” Nestlen mentioned Morgan County USA in an interview on one of many buses parked in entrance of Cacapon State Park Lodge, ready to take lawmakers to Berkeley Springs.
“This is what the future of school busing looks like – electric buses in school busing,” he mentioned. “It makes lots of sense. Routes are set. You know what number of kilometers buses will drive, you already know the place they may go, you already know the durations in which you’ll cost autos. From a logistical viewpoint, it is vitally straightforward to substitute your diesel fleet with an electrical faculty bus fleet.”
West Virginia is a conservative fossil gas state. How do you propose to promote electrical buses to these legislators?
“Where will the power for these buses come from?” asks Nestlen. “Coal. Every time you see a railcar full of coal, another load of electric bus fuel is consumed. Coal makes the electricity that powers these vehicles.”
“How does this benefit the climate? You can control emissions for a single source – the coal plant – much better than you can control emissions from 3,000 sources – the buses.”
“The best education is our top priority at Grant County Schools, but we also have a responsibility to provide a better planet for our students,” mentioned Mitch Webster, superintendent of Grant County Schools. “By participating in the GreenPower electric school bus pilot program, we can also make our contribution. Our students have the opportunity to ride an all-electric school bus from a company that makes these buses right here in our home state, and we look forward to being a part of the program.”