West Fargo Public Schools in North Dakota has received an electric Blue Bird Vision school bus, which will be used on a daily route for the 2019-2020 school year.
Equipped with a Cummins PowerDrive system, the vehicle represents North Dakota’s first all-electric school bus, according to Blue Bird.
“We’re estimating that we will save approximately 70 percent in energy costs and 70 to 80 percent in maintenance costs,” notes Brad Redmond, West Fargo Public Schools’ transportation director. “By reducing costs and the impact on air quality, our Blue Bird electric bus benefits our community greatly.”
The school district purchased the bus with assistance from the North Dakota Department of Commerce through the state’s energy program. The Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and Cass County Electric — in conjunction with Minnkota Power Cooperative — also provided funding.
“We are grateful that, with the financial assistance from our partnering agencies, we have been able to purchase our first all-electric school bus,” says Patti Stedman, president of the board for West Fargo Public Schools. “This bus will serve as a pilot that will help the district determine if we can migrate to a low-emissions fleet in the future. This investment is a great benefit to not only the district and our students, but also to the community as a whole.”
“We congratulate West Fargo Public Schools on being first in its state to operate an electric bus,” comments Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Bird Bird Corp. “The electric school bus market is growing rapidly, as electricity is a clean, efficient transportation power source that supports our customers’ environmental goals.”
The bus, which can travel up to 120 miles between charges, will recharge at the district’s on-site charging station. It is designed to operate in a variety of environments, including in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F.
The school district operates 54 buses in its fleet. If awarded additional grant money, the district plans to add more electric vehicles.