The Rising Popularity of Electric Buses: Coming Soon to a Road Near You

Electric buses are popping up on urban streets and in school districts across America. This trend is expected to continue into the future as our country makes the switch to electric vehicles. 

Electric Buses Offer More Value

There are many reasons why electric buses offer more bang for your buck than their gas-guzzling counterparts. They have several benefits, offering a better build, improved reliability, more efficient maintenance and higher quality trips for drivers.  Electric buses are also efficient, fast and only use 20% of the raw energy of a diesel bus to travel the same distance.  

The price tag of Electric buses can be up to 20% higher, but their operating costs are significantly lower, saving money in the long run. The total cost to own and operate an electric bus over its lifetime is 35% less than traditional buses.

An electric bus gets better mileage too.  While a diesel bus can get just under 4-miles-per-gallon, an electric bus can reach 21 MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent.  

They are Good for the Environment and Public Health  

Buses are constantly on the move, especially in urban areas, and release a significant amount of emissions.   According to a study done by the American Lung Association, making the transition to electric buses in cities could dramatically improve air quality, health and health costs among the public.

Electric Bus Challenges in Urban Areas

It can be expensive for urban planners to make the transition to electric buses, which can cost up to 2x more than a traditional diesel bus.  However, with battery prices expected to decrease over the next five years, they will likely become more affordable. 

The ability to properly charge electric buses is another challenge facing urban areas. However, with smaller batteries and improved in-route charging methods likely coming in the future, this problem will probably be resolved.  

Urban planners also have to ensure the weight of an electric bus won’t damage the roads. The good news is as battery sizes get smaller, electric buses are expected to lose some pounds. 

The Popularity of Electric School Buses 

Electric school buses are experiencing rapid growth in the United States, and School districts are getting on board. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), In June 2022, US school districts and fleet operators committed to more than 12,000 electric school buses in 38 states.  That is a jump of more than 10,000 since the last WRI report was released in January.  Out of the 38 states, California takes the top spot, committing to 1,000 buses, followed by Maryland, which has signed up for 337.  

The reason for the big jump this year?  In December 2021, a  partnership was announced between two companies. Midwest Transit Equipment and SEA Electric have set a goal to update 10,000 school buses with battery-electric power systems over the next five years. The deal will cover both Type A and Type C school buses.  

Partnership Provides BIg Step Ahead

The partnership is a major step forward in the effort to reduce the carbon footprint of bus fleets, while moving the industry to electrification at a reasonable cost.  In fact,  MTE, one of the largest school bus dealers in the country, will be able to provide clients with a nearly-new 100% electric bus at a fraction of the cost of a brand new one. The deal opens the door to a zero-emissions future for children’s transport in North America.

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