SD5 and SD6 have added electric school buses to their transportation fleets. Photo courtesy B.C. Government.

East Kootenay school districts add electric buses to fleets

Two school districts in the East Kootenay are adding an electric school bus to their fleets, as part of a provincial push to cut down on transit emissions.

SD5 (Southeast Kootenay) and SD6 (Rocky Mountain) each purchased one electric bus, as part of a initiative that includes 13 school districts adding 18 electric buses across B.C., according to a provincial news release.

“By shifting gears from diesel to electric school buses, these K-12 students are benefiting from our government’s work to create healthier and more sustainable learning environments across B.C.,” said Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. “Electric school buses produce zero emissions and also support CleanBC’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2030, helping build a cleaner, healthier future for all of us.”

The new electric buses are highly efficient and produce no carbon emissions, saving approximately 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually as opposed to a diesel bus, according to the province.

“Our kids deserve a clean, healthy future, and that’s why we’re investing in zero-emission school buses in communities across B.C.,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “By acting now to address climate change, we’re demonstrating leadership for young people by reducing pollution, improving air quality and building a more secure future for our kids and grandkids.”

The Ministry of Education has provided $13 million through the Bus Acquisition program for 31 school districts to purchase 101 buses, which includes the 18 electric buses. Each electric bus costs approximately $350,000, as opposed to a diesel bus, which is approximately $150,000. Additional funding support from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation supplements up to $150,000 for each electric bus.

School districts that buy electric buses also have access to provincial funding for charging stations.