Electric school buses are finally being rolled out and they are having a direct impact on the quality of the air children breathe every day. Recently, there have been several announcements regarding EV school buses. Some of these include studies supporting their benefits and orders to deploy hundreds across the country.
For example, one study found that current diesel-powered school buses emit high levels of greenhouse gases. These effects can be mitigated through the use of electric fleets, which have many benefits, including protecting the environment and improving people’s health.
Current trends show that the number of school buses in the United States has increased since 2012. About 40,000 buses were purchased in 2019. In other countries like Canada, only 4,607 buses were registered in the same year.
Replacing diesel school buses with all-electric versions will eliminate 5 million tons of carbon emissions in the United States each year. The change would be a crucial step forward, especially for children with asthma.
Also, most school buses are in transit for short distances and only for a few hours a day. The main obstacles to fully electric vehicles (limited mileage and charging infrastructure) continue to be denied.
Electric buses tend to be expensive, but companies like MTE (Midwest Transit Equipment) are changing that. MTE is one of the largest school bus dealerships in the United States. The company plans to convert thousands of battery-electric school buses over the next five years.
In addition to these replacements, MTE will provide these newly converted electric buses at a lower cost than a new EV school bus.
The Impacts of Diesel School Buses
Children have faster breathing rates than adults because their lungs are not yet fully developed. Diesel exhaust is the main source of sickness and school absenteeism among students. It is also linked to asthma, chronic respiratory diseases and premature death.
As the buses come to a halt in traffic, residents of surrounding neighborhoods, bus drivers and maintenance workers are affected by the toxic fumes. This is why the transition to electric vehicles is important.
There are currently 50,263 electric charging stations in the United States. According to Statista, the UK has 10,616 locations and the number of charging stations in Japan fell to 29,200 in 2020.
While the number of charging stations doesn’t seem to be a problem, there are still not enough electric school buses to compensate. However, the dynamics are almost in full swing.
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill allocates $5 billion to fund electric, zero-emission school buses over the next five years. The ultimate goal would be to power the system with 100% renewable energy to achieve zero emissions.
The rise of electric buses
Some parts of the country are also making their rounds to boost the e-bus movement. School officials, parents, students and legislators champion this goal.
The New York City Council has passed a bill requiring all electric school buses by 2035. Meanwhile, a Phoenix high school cross-country team has teamed up with its coach and an organization to buy an electric bus. In Miami, a student lobbied her county school board to approve a district plan replacing dozens of diesel buses with electric ones.
It’s not just the United States pushing to add more EV school buses. Recently, Lion Electric announced the deployment of a few dozen buses in Canada. This fleet would expand the current dozen, which have been operating since early 2021. Lion also says it will provide the same number of charging stations to the local community.
Support for the transition to zero-emission buses seems overwhelming
Many parents worry about the impact of pollution on their children. For example, there are 480,000 school buses in the United States and only a small percentage of them are low-emission or electric. The amount of pollution for school-aged children exposes them to many health problems.
In addition, climate-related events such as extreme heat and wildfires also harm human health. As these multiply today, parents are calling on their elected officials to act.
Going electric for all school buses is a practical solution that will immediately pay off in the future. As air quality improves, children’s well-being also improves. The desire to reduce diesel emissions is no longer a thought. Actions are taken to make the world a better place.
School districts that replace diesel buses will see many benefits. Electric buses require less maintenance than standard models and fuel costs will be negated. Despite the initial expense of electric buses, many schools are focused on greening and improving life around the world.
By April Miller. Articles in English