Virginia’s first electric school buses will soon arrive at schools across the state.
Sonny Merryman and Dominion Energy, with partners Thomas Built Buses and Proterra, hosted a rollout celebration to officially introduce the Jouley electric bus to public school officials from across the state who will soon be receiving their first electric buses as part of the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program.
The Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program is the nation’s largest deployment of electric school buses. The program was developed to support school divisions as they transition their fleets to electric school buses while also providing environmental benefits and allowing Dominion Energy to explore battery storage capabilities of electric school buses to enhance electric grid reliability.
A school division purchasing an electric school bus with traditional funding avenues could expect to pay three times the amount compared to that of a similar diesel school bus. Through the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program, 50 electric school buses will be delivered to localities across Virginia at the same price as traditional diesel buses – Dominion Energy will offset the extra cost for the buses and associated charging infrastructure.
“Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the eight electric Thomas Built Buses with the Proterra powertrain,” says David Pace, executive director of transportation and fleet services at Virginia Beach City Public Schools. “This partnership with Dominion Energy and Sonny Merryman to integrate environmentally sound school buses into our fleet fits perfectly with the VBCPS sustainability goals and program. We are looking forward to a continued relationship in the future to place more electric eco-friendly school buses into service.”
The first of the Jouley electric school buses will be delivered shortly. The remainder of the first 50 buses in Phase 1 of the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program will be delivered throughout the fall and winter months, including to VBCPS. The buses are powered by two 110 kWh Proterra batteries mounted between the chassis frame rails. The electric bus is so quiet that there are two noise emitters located in the front and rear bumpers that produce a sound similar to a train whistle to alert students and pedestrians when the bus is approaching.
With state approval, Phase 2 of the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program would bring at least 1,000 additional electric school buses online by 2025. Phase 3 sets a goal to have 50% of all diesel bus replacements in Dominion Energy’s footprint to be electric by 2025 and 100% by 2030.
Photo: The rollout celebration officially introducing the Jouley electric bus to public school officials