A broad coalition of advanced mobility, school transportation, health and environmental experts held a forum today to talk about opportunities electric school buses can create.
The board focused on the safety and health of kids that ride the bus to and from school everyday.
“These buses operate like a traditional school bus, but they have clean emission.” says Katrina Morris from Michigan’s Association for Pupil Transportation.
Morris says the buses will use electrons stored in a battery to create the energy to drive the bus. A new round of EPA grants will provide five billion dollars over five years for zero emission school buses. She says one school bus equals 44 cars. So with 13,000 electric school buses in the state, that would, in terms, remove 572,000 cars from the road that are burning fossil fuels.
“Policy makers need to seize this opportunity to provide a clean commute for our school children.” Morris says.
According to Kindra Weid, a registered nurse, and the coalition coordinator for My Air My Health, Michigan asthma rates for children and adults are higher than the national average. So when children are exposed to diesel exhaust, they are at a higher risk for health conditions such as asthma.
“Every child deserves to breathe clean and healthy air especially on their way to and from school.” Weid says.
Electric buses could create a healthier climate, and they could save money in the long run.
“The savings range from $4,000 to $11,000 per school bus every year depending on local utility rates.” says Aaron Viles who is from the Electrification Coalition, a non-profit that advances adoption of plug-in vehicles.
Viles says electric school buses are fairly expensive, but after the purchase, school districts will immediately start saving money.
“The immediate savings on the fuel and maintenance, that really does means that our local school districts will end up economically winning as well as environmentally winning.” Biles says.
Michigan already has 17 electric school buses being used within seven different districts, and another on their way.
“Michigan is well on the way to beginning a 21st century electric school bus pupil transportation revolution.” says Mac Dashney with the Pupil Transportation Operation and Management Institute.