Posted on June 15, 2021
Categories: News from SDP

PHILADELPHIA, PA The School District of Philadelphia announced the acquisition of five electric school buses for the 2021-2022 school year through the support of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and its commitment to continue expanding the electric bus fleet by purchasing five per year to replace older diesel buses. The all-electric buses will be the first of their kind in Pennsylvania.

Through the District’s sustainability plan GreenFutures, transportation services is committed to replacing its fleet of older diesel school buses with new technologies that focus on low emissions, improved fuel economy and safety for students and drivers. The Biden Administration has proposed replacing 20 percent of the school bus fleet in the United States, converting approximately 100,000 units out of 500,000 total units, with electric buses as part of the American Jobs Plan.

Replacing gasoline and diesel buses with electric buses addresses climate change and can help children’s health. An electric school bus replacing a diesel school bus is the equivalent of removing 23 tons of greenhouse gases per year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for nearly one-third of all emissions, which is the highest of any sector, and heavy-duty transportation is about one-quarter of those emissions. Deploying electric school buses will cut down on respiratory contaminants in the air, ultimately improving community health while also eliminating noise pollution.

“We’re excited to acquire these buses and continue our GreenFutures work to identify more efficient ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint,” said Danielle Floyd, general manager of Transportation Services for the School District of Philadelphia. “While we’ve previously purchased clean diesel buses to replace our aging fleet, we are proud to be the first school district in the Commonwealth to begin investing in all-electric buses, providing not only climate and health benefits for our community, but allowing students to benefit from having a quiet, more relaxed ride.”

The District has purchased the LionC buses from Lion Electric, North America’s leading manufacturer of zero-emission school buses, with nearly 400 vehicles on the road and seven million miles driven. These 48 passenger buses with wheelchair lifts are all-electric and produce zero emissions, with a range of up to 125 miles on a single charge. School buses are particularly well-suited for transitioning to electric buses due to their duty cycle, low mileage routes and frequent stops, which creates significant wear and tear on diesel vehicles. Electric school buses have fewer moving parts, making them much more affordable to operate, with approximately 60 percent less maintenance cost and 80 percent lower energy cost.

“Lion Electric is extremely proud to be working with the School District of Philadelphia to put the first all-electric school buses on the road in Pennsylvania, paving the way for the future of sustainable school transportation in the Keystone state,” said Nate Baguio, vice president of Sales at Lion Electric. “Deploying electric school buses in the Philadelphia area will not only provide students with a healthier environment and quiet ride to and from school, but will also provide significant savings in maintenance and energy costs, ultimately allowing the district to further invest in its students and put money back into classrooms.”

While the buses will arrive over the summer prior to the start of the school year, a demonstration bus was onsite on June 15 for the District’s transportation staff to learn more about the bus operations.