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EV Market

Electric School Buses: The Choice for Green Cities

By

December 21, 2022

There has been an increasing awareness about global warming, climate change, and the importance of environmentally friendly practices. As nations, organizations, and individuals initiate green practices in different spheres of life, there has been increasing support for the use of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles help reduce pollution because of the absence of carbon emissions. They don’t burn fossil fuels and instead rely on renewable energy, making them a more eco-friendly means of transportation.

Since schools require children to attend classes every day, finding more ecologically safe ways to transport them can be a major win for the environment. Electric school buses are thus a popular means to safeguard the interests of future generations because they offer a cleaner, greener alternative to buses that operate on diesel. 

With millions of students depending on school buses, it is important to ensure that their needs are met with the least impact on the environment. By advocating for electric school buses, society can improve transportation for educational institutions while helping lay the groundwork for greener cities. For more information, check out our report, "How to Electrify a School Bus Fleet," to learn how to electrify your school bus fleet in six steps, from funding opportunities to the operation of charge points.

Here’s everything you should know about these vehicles.

What Are Green Cities?

A green city is also referred to as a sustainable city or an eco-city. It involves the design, construction, and operation of an urban space where the preservation of the natural elements is the priority. In such a model, the natural world’s conservation and sustenance are at par with the social, economic, and physical health of the residents of the city.

Green cities are founded on the belief that humans and nature are codependent. They must, therefore, mutually benefit from a city’s design so the city can sustain itself. The loss of natural resources, climate change, and overall lack of sustainability can eventually make cities unlivable.

Green cities are thus developed to coexist with nature in a manner that reduces the impact on the environment while allowing citizens to maintain a relatively normal lifestyle.

Green cities are often characterized by the following:

  • Causing minimal damage to local ecologies
  • Creating spaces that will offer shelter to subsequent generations
  • Addressing concerns regarding pollution, land use, biodiversity, and conservation
  • Capable of adapting to the changes in the world, including extreme weather conditions that may arise
  • Robust public transport systems or alternative/environmentally friendly private transport
  • Walkability to reduce carbon footprint from commutes

Ultimately, green city design comes down to environmentally friendly and sustainable infrastructure that is built for convenience, longevity, and ecological harmony.

Why Are Cities Opting for Electric School Buses?

While a completely green city may not be immediately feasible for most cities, several governments are making an effort to become more sustainable. The adoption of electric school buses is an important part of the green agenda.

In North America alone, half a million school buses are used to ferry around 20 million children to and from their schools each day. The distance they travel adds up to around 3.4 billion miles per year.

This makes school buses the largest mass transit system to leave a massive carbon footprint. Electric school buses are thus an appealing alternative as they are not only better for the environment but are also 60% more energy efficient.

Let’s explore in greater detail why electric school buses should be the mode of transport of the future:

Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Transportation is a significant contributor to global CO2 emissions. By replacing traditional school buses with electric models, school districts can make great strides toward being more sustainable since electric buses have zero net carbon emissions.

Cost-Effective

Electric school buses are a far more cost-effective solution than buses that rely on fuel. In fact, schools can save approximately $2,000 on fuel and $4,400 on maintenance, annually.

Electric school buses cost only about 14 cents per mile while diesel buses cost 49 cents for every mile. This can make a drastic difference in the financials of schools and cities. Cost savings from electric school buses can be directed toward better infrastructure, improved education, and more. The cost effectiveness is increased by the many funding opportunities available for electric school bus fleets, some of which we cover in our report, "How to Electrify a School Bus Fleet."

Fewer Health Risks 

Harmful emissions from vehicles that run on fuel can be extremely harmful and toxic for adults and children. Exposure to the fumes released by idle buses can put children at risk for asthma, immunologic reactions, leukemia, and decreased lung function

These illnesses can seriously impact their quality of life and could have long-term consequences. The advent of electric school buses is a welcome change that will reduce the risk of smoke-induced illnesses and health concerns.

Less Noise

Electric buses are much quieter than buses powered by fossil fuels. They thus reduce the amount of noise and distractions, offering drivers a better and safer driving experience. 

Furthermore, passenger students can have a more peaceful commute, especially those sensitive to the noise created by buses. This can impact their productivity and overall well-being by reducing the risk of sensory overload.

Convenience

The main concern with electric vehicles is how they will be charged. However, with electric school buses, this is more easily addressed as they usually have relatively shorter routes that are based on fixed schedules.

Because of this, it’s possible for drivers to complete a route on a single charge. Charging station operators, on the other hand, can easily ensure that the buses are charged by certain times.

Overall, this provides optimized operations and convenience to drivers and fleet operators.

How Many Electric School Buses Are in the US?

Owing to the environmental and economic benefits of electric school buses, districts across 38 states have committed to 12,275 electric school buses as of June 2022.

The Clean School Bus Program initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping with the funding of these buses across the country. From 2022 to 2026, the program will provide $5 billion for the replacement of diesel-powered buses with vehicles that have low to zero emissions.

As of today, there are over 12,700 electric school buses in the United States and that number is expected to rise. 

How Are Students Impacted By Schools Adopting Green Initiatives?

When schools adopt green initiatives, students are educated and made aware of the impact they have on the environment. They also witness firsthand solutions that reduce or neutralize environmental threats. By experiencing green initiatives for themselves, students can grow up to be more environmentally conscious adults.

Schools with green initiatives are highly beneficial in the overall development of students:

  • They improve academic performance and help students succeed.
  • They prepare students for careers in STEM. 
  • They build a stronger sense of community.

Conclusion

Green cities and schools are built on the foundation of environmentally friendly practices and climate change awareness. They are designed to reduce the impact of people on the environment.

By adopting electric school buses with the right optimization solutions, we can collectively reduce our carbon footprint, raise more environmentally aware children, improve our health, and safeguard our future.

For more information, check out our report, "How to Electrify a School Bus Fleet," to learn how to electrify your school bus fleet in six steps, from funding opportunities to the operation of charge points.

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