Students in the Greater Victoria School District may catch an all-electric ride this year with four electric school buses being added to the District’s fleet.
The District is using the zero-emission vehicles to transport classes during field trips or students living within their school catchment but outside of the walking limits.
Electric school buses have many advantages compared to diesel school buses, including the cost of electricity compared to fuel and fewer moving mechanical parts, which means they require fewer repairs and less maintenance. The District’s new electric buses can travel 200 kilometres on one battery charge. It is approximately $13.00 to charge the battery compared to $178.00 in fuel to travel 200 kilometres. The buses also have brake energy regeneration, a braking system that generates power to help recharge the battery.
“Our District is fully committed to the implementation of climate initiatives that provide timely and effective solutions,” says Board Chair Ryan Painter. “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% by 2030.”
According to the provincial government, a zero-emission electric school bus saves about 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually compared to a diesel school bus. Targeted funding for the 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.
“Our students are calling on leadership to do something to secure their access to a safe and livable planet for their futures,” said Superintendent Deb Whitten. “Adding electric buses to our fleet is a step towards reducing emissions and creating the very future our students are calling for and deserve.”