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EVs Drive Our Towns

From airplanes to mail carriers to buses, EVs (electric vehicles) are coming to all aspects of our cities. Today let’s narrow in on one specific area and take a closer look at the benefits of clean school buses in our towns.

Some of the advantages of clean electric school buses include quiet and clean operation; reduced GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) when compared to diesel school buses; and zero tailpipe pollution—which is key when students, drivers, and members of the community are exposed to harmful diesel emissions.

Other potential benefits include reduced maintenance costs including less brake wear due to regenerative braking, no engine or exhaust system maintenance, and the potential for reduced fuel costs.

Consider the example here in South Carolina. Schools have added electric buses to their fleet, which has been part of a giveaway. Austin Meyer, through the Ava Lane Meyer Foundation, gave away three electric school buses and chargers to schools in South Carolina—and Daimler added a fourth bus to the giveaway.

Here is how it worked. Students, teachers, or entire classrooms in public schools in South Carolina sent in essays on why they wanted to have an electric school bus. Essays also included how many miles the bus would use each day, daily routes, field trips, and other use cases. Students were also encouraged to get creative and include drawings. Personally, this is, simply, genius to engage students to get involved, write essays, and provide drawings.

The winners are the Richland 1, Richland 2, Richland 5, and Greenville districts. The buses are the new 135-mile range, Proterra drive-train-equipped Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school buses—and have already taken to the road.

The objective here is to reduce noise and pollution—while also improving the overall health for all the bus riders. Perhaps the longer-term goal is for the entire state of South Carolina to champion electric buses.

And that might come to fruition soon enough. With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency’s) new Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion throughout the next five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models.

The future is electric in many cases—and school buses are just the beginning of a cleaner ride. We will soon see EVs proliferate in many areas of our towns. Are you ready to take the ride?

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