Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an electric school bus?
A: An electric school bus is a school bus with an electric motor powered by a large bank of batteries. Electric school buses are built on the same chassis as internal-combustion buses, and often by the same manufacturers, such as Bluebird, Thomas Built, and IC.
Q: How do AC and heat affect bus range?
A: Electric AC and heat do reduce range, typically by 15% and 25%, respectively. Optional fossil-fuel-powered heaters are available from some manufacturers, which do not degrade range. Since the average bus route is 35-40 miles, proper route planning makes such reductions inconsequential.
Q: How do electric bus maintenance costs compare to diesel?
A: Typical savings are in the range of 30-50% over the course of the vehicle's lifetime. Electric school bus drivetrains have less than 3% of the moving parts compared to a traditional internal combustion engine, which translates to a lower total cost of ownership through maintenance cost savings.
Q: What are the health benefits of electric school buses?
A: Electric school buses eliminate students’ exposure to diesel fumes, which have been linked to childhood asthma, respiratory illnesses, and absenteeism. These effects are often worse in poor and underrepresented communities.
Q: If electric buses are getting cheaper and better, why should my community electrify now?
A: The sooner you upgrade your fleet, the sooner your community can enjoy the benefits of clean, reliable electric buses today. Additionally, districts that start now have the opportunity to thoughtfully plan their transition and a slate of shovel-ready projects that are often prioritized by today’s federal and state incentives, which may sunset in the coming years. Most importantly, the longer your district waits to electrify, the more savings it will ultimately miss out on.