Electric buses 1

Loudoun County Public Schools Fleet Manager Mark Maggitti — with the help of six Park View High School students — ceremonially plugs in one of the school system’s new electric buses on May 4.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) office announced on Thursday that Loudoun County Public Schools would be receiving money to purchase six new electric buses funded by a settlement with Volkswagen and aims to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.

The six electric buses slated for Loudoun County are part of an initiative to replace 83 diesel-fueled buses in 19 districts across Virginia. The new buses will be procured with more than $10.5 million in funds from the settlement with Volkswagen, according to the governor’s office.

“We all benefit from transitioning away from diesel school buses and investing in clean alternatives for our transportation system,” Northam said in a written statement announcing the disbursal.

The new buses will add to the five existing electric buses that began operating in the county in May 2021, as the Times-Mirror reported at the time. Dominion Energy, based in Richmond, selected Loudoun County to receive the five buses as part of its Electric School Bus Program, which launched in 2020.

When the 11 total electric buses are all put in service in Loudoun County, they’ll constitute about 1.4% of the school district’s overall fleet of 780 buses, according to LCPS Director of Transportation, Scott Davies.

Davies said that while LCPS has 18 months from the awarding of the grant to purchase the new electric vehicles, “I don’t plan on taking 18 months to do this. As soon as we have the funds available, we intend to place those purchase orders.”

He estimated that it would take roughly 8 to 10 months to place purchase orders for the buses, have them manufactured, and then deployed within the county. Davies referenced an existing state contract from which LCPS would be able to purchase base vehicle models, and then add additional features such as air conditioning.

Of the six diesel buses that the new electric vehicles would replace, Davies said the county’s requirement is that they be “crushed” and the engine blocks “drilled out,” to render them permanently inoperable.

In prepared remarks, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring touted the release of the funds as “encouraging.”

“We have been clear that Virginia’s environment is a top priority,” he said. “I am proud that this settlement is being used to support … clean, safe, and healthy transportation for children going to and from school.”

The announcement of $10.5 million to revamp school bus fleets throughout Virginia stems from a 2016 settlement between the Commonwealth and Volkswagen, which pledged $2.7 billion to environmental mitigation after the company was discovered to have violated the Clean Air Act through the use of emission testing defeat devices designed to cheat on federal emissions tests.

Department of Environmental Quality director David Paylor said in the statement that throughout Virginia, “the replacement of these school buses is calculated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons per year, and will save one million gallons of diesel fuel.”

Davies estimated the cost of each electric bus at $370,000, as opposed to $130,000 for diesel models currently in operation. The funds announced by the state would be used to cover a roughly $240,000 deficit for each of the six buses to be purchased, he said.

Only one Virginia school district — Fairfax County Public Schools, which is due to receive funds for 10 electric buses — will be receiving more electric vehicles than Loudoun, according to the statement.

The school systems in Chesterfield County, Halifax County, Newport News and Virginia Beach will each be receiving 10 propane-fueled buses to replace old diesel models.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) office announced on Thursday that Loudoun County Public Schools would be receiving money to purchase six new electric buses funded by a settlement with Volkswagen that aims to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.

The six electric buses slated for Loudoun County are part of an initiative to replace 83 diesel-fueled buses in 19 districts across Virginia. The new buses will be procured via more than $10.5 million in funds from the settlement with Volkswagen, according to the governor’s office.

“We all benefit from transitioning away from diesel school buses and investing in clean alternatives for our transportation system,” Northam said in a written statement announcing the disbursal.

The new buses will add to the five existing electric buses that began operating in the county in May 2021, as the Times-Mirror reported at the time. Dominion Energy, based in Richmond, selected Loudoun County to receive the five buses as part of its Electric School Bus Program, which launched in 2020.

When the 11 total electric buses are all put in service in Loudoun County, they’ll constitute about 1.4% of the school district’s overall fleet of 780 buses, according to LCPS Director of Transportation, Scott Davies.

Davies said that while LCPS has 18 months from the awarding of the grant to purchase the new electric vehicles, “I don’t plan on taking 18 months to do this. As soon as we have the funds available, we intend to place those purchase orders.”

He estimated that it would take roughly 8 to 10 months to place purchase orders for the buses, have them manufactured, and then deployed within the county. Davies referenced an existing state contract from which LCPS would be able to purchase base vehicle models, and then add additional features such as air conditioning.Of the six diesel buses that the new electric vehicles would replace, Davies said the county’s requirement is that they be “crushed” and the engine blocks “drilled out,” to render them permanently inoperable.

In prepared remarks, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring touted the release of the funds as “encouraging.”

(3) comments

jke

How about using the diesel for 3 years for 390 thousand instead of electric for 1 at a cost of 390 thousand!

jke

This is a 287% increase almost 3 times what we spend now on transportation, reject, reject and reject!

jke

If you use the numbers above and go completely electric you are talking 187 million dollars more a year to transport children to school. Hold my beer and excuse me but are they out of their minds?

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