Students in the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) will now have a chance to catch a zero-emissions ride aboard one of the district’s new, all-electric buses.
The school district has introduced four electric buses to its fleet, which will be used to transport students on field trips as well as those who live outside of walking limits within their school catchment area.
Greater Victoria school board chair Ryan Painter said the district is fully committed to taking measures to reduce its carbon footprint. “Shifting our fleet towards electric buses contributes towards our goals to create a more sustainable learning community and reduce our fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030,” he said.
Like cars, electric school buses have some advantages when compared to diesel school buses. Not only is the cost of electricity significantly less than gasoline, fewer moving mechanical parts means fewer repairs and less maintenance overall.
The new buses can travel a distance of 200 kilometres on a single battery charge, costing approximately $13. A traditional school bus, by contrast, would require about $178 in fuel to cover the same distance. Brake energy regeneration also helps to recharge the battery whenever the brakes of the bus are applied.
According to the provincial government, a zero-emission electric school bus saves approximately 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually compared to a diesel-powered school bus.
Funding for the four new electric buses was provided by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and other federal grants specific to school bus electrification.
District superintendent Deb Whitten said that electrifying their bus fleet is a step towards ensuring the very future students are calling for and deserve. “Our students are calling on leadership to do something to secure their access to a safe and livable planet for their futures,” she said.
Thirteen B.C. school districts, including the Sooke School District (SD62), purchased a total of 18 electric buses in 2021.
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