North Dakota’s first all-electric school bus quietly arrived Monday, June 3, to the West Fargo School District.
In November, the West Fargo School Board approved spending about $314,000 on the bus, which is expected to save the district about 70 percent of operational and maintenance costs of a traditional bus.
“By reducing costs and the impact on air quality, our Blue Bird electric bus benefits our community greatly,” said Brad Redmond, West Fargo Public Schools’ transportation director.
The school district received $70,000 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce Energy Program, $40,000 from the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and $40,000 from Cass County Electric and Minnkota Power Cooperative to buy the electric bus.
The Blue Bird Vision bus will seat about 72 and looks similar to diesel buses but is much quieter due to its electric system.
The bus, which can travel up to 120 miles between charges, will recharge at the district’s on-site charging station. It is designed to operate in a variety of environments, and offers comparable vehicle performance to a bus with a traditional internal combustion engine, yet requires no oil changes, fuel or air filters, transmission service or additional fluids. The bus can operate in temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees, according to Blue Bird officials.
“This bus will serve as a pilot that will help the district determine if we can migrate to a low-emissions fleet in the future. This investment is a great benefit to not only the district and our students, but also to the community as a whole,” said Patti Stedman, president of the board for West Fargo Public Schools.
The school district has 54 buses in its fleet that provides transportation for students who live more than .9 miles from their school.
This bus will be seen at promotional events over the summer throughout the state, and then assigned a daily route for the 2019-2020 school year.