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Electric school bus now running in Kamloops-Thompson

A new electric school bus is now part of the fleet in the Kamloops-Thompson School District as one of 18 delivered to 13 school districts across the province this month.

“This is an important milestone in our commitment to sustainability in the Kamloops-Thompson School District,” said Rhonda Kershaw, Board Chair. “We are grateful for the funding for this e-bus, and for the opportunity to provide cleaner and healthier transportation to our students while reducing our carbon footprint.”

Electric school buses produce zero emissions and support CleanBC’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. They cost more than diesel buses, and even with the additional CleanBC funding, school districts are required to put in some of their own capital.

The total cost of the bus and its charging station is $387,017. The Ministry of Education is contributing $140,544 and CleanBC is contributing $119,358. A carbon-neutral rebate ($65,000), a GST rebate ($11,323), and a charging station rebate ($6,000) applied to the total cost, means the cost to the District is about $45,000.

“The plan is to trial one bus to determine how it performs in our climate and terrain,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Sullivan. “Assuming the trial is successful, we would add more electric buses as funding allows.”

A diesel-powered school bus costs about $150,000.

It is estimated there will be a 40 per cent decrease in maintenance costs for the electric bus, and considerable fuel cost savings.

“A diesel school bus will travel about 550 kilometers on $175 of diesel fuel while charging the electric bus will cost about $50 in electricity,” said Transportation Manager Sherry Kristjanson. “The range of an electric bus with a full charge is about 220 kilometres.”

Kristjanson said the e-bus range can potentially be greater, depending on the use of the regenerative braking feature, which means that when the driver’s foot is lifted slightly off the accelerator pedal, there is some regeneration of power to the bus.

The new 76 passenger e-bus will initially be used in Brocklehurst and North Kamloops, and for some field trips. It’s a high-tech addition to SD73’s fleet of 84 diesel buses that travel an average of 9,100 kilometres each day transporting more than 4,300 students on 64 routes in the communities of Barriere, Chase, Clearwater, Kamloops, Savona, Westwold, and Vavenby.

CleanBC is the government’s plan to reduce carbon pollution and build a cleaner economy for people throughout B.C., through more than $2 billion in provincial funding over five years.

Source: SD73

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