Garretson School District accepts delivery of 3 electric buses
Garretson School District has received three electric buses and power recharge stations.
Grant funding from the federal government’s Clean School Bus Program has provided electric buses to a total of six school districts in the state.
The buses will cover three of district’s four routes. Upon delivery, volunteer bus drivers anxiously awaited training from a Lion Electric company rep - the company that built the buses.
“Our business manager saw the grant opportunity come across. He had seen kinda the direction that things were going as far as transportation and the move towards electric vehicles and thought, ‘well, let’s jump in and apply for the grant and see what happens.’ And we were lucky to be the only district to be chosen to receive funds for three buses,” said Garretson School District Superintendent Guy Johnson.
The other districts in the state receiving buses for the program got only one or two vehicles.
Although there are many technological differences between the electric buses and the older diesel-powered buses, Johnson said the most noticeable difference is what is not heard.
“It’s really quiet in the bus. You hear a little road noise, but yet you don’t have the rumble of the diesel motor. It's going to be interesting for us to see how that impacts the students on the bus," said Johnson. "Some folks say the kids are really loud on the bus because they are competing with the noise around them. If you drop that ambient noise level down, it’ll be interesting to see if our students also drop their noise level down.”
With a significant reduction in noise level produced by the bus itself, a new area of concern for some parents is comfort and safety for children in winter months.
Brandon Reid is a customer success manager withLion Eclectic.
“For extremely cold weather, we got two heaters for interior comfort on the bus. And as far as the powertrain and batteries go, we have heaters built into all components that are critical. So, we do have these in some very cold environments, and they perform quite well,” said Reid.
According to Lion Electric, each bus can travel a total of 125 miles on a full charge. This range can be affected by cold weather, however, which can reduce charge by up to 20 percent.
Johnson ensured families in the Garretson School District that with a total mileage of 39-45 miles for each bus route, they will have plenty of range year-round.