WFPS' First All-Electric School Bus
At the November 13 meeting, the School Board awarded bids to Hartley’s School Buses for the purchase of one Bluebird electric school bus for a net amount of $314,200. This will be the first all-electric school bus for the West Fargo School District and the state of North Dakota.
The cost of an electric school bus is substantially higher than a traditional school bus. However, the district has received additional support from regional agencies to help offset the upfront costs. Funds to support the electric school bus project were provided by the following:
- North Dakota Department of Commerce through the State Energy Program – $70,000
- Coalition for a Secure Energy Future – $40,000
- Cass County Electric in conjunction with Minnkota Power Cooperative – $40,000
“The Coalition for a Secure Energy Future is proud to partner with West Fargo Public Schools and our industry supporters to purchase the state’s first electric powered school bus,” said Joel Johnson, Director for the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future. “The new bus will be powered by North Dakota’s homegrown energy of which two-thirds is clean lignite coal. Advancing electric vehicles is a crucial initiative to help grow the region’s economy,” he added.
While the new electric bus has a higher upfront cost, it is expected to be more cost effective than a traditional bus over the course of its lifetime. The district anticipates an annual savings of $2,500 in diesel costs and $1,800 in maintenance costs with the purchase of the electric bus.
The school district will be comparing the costs of the electric school bus to two diesel-powered school buses that will be put into service at the same time. A long-term analysis of the operational and maintenance costs of the electric bus will provide data to assist future school bus purchasing decisions regarding the most cost-effective fuel sources for the district’s fleet.