Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley looks at electric school bus acquisition as driving Cowichan forward. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley looks at electric school bus acquisition as driving Cowichan forward. (Photo submitted)

New electric school bus for Cowichan district

Higher price offset by reduced repair and maintenance costs compared to diesel

Nanaimo-North Cowichan NDP MLA Doug Routley says students will be at the forefront of a zero-emission movement as three new school buses coming to the region are electric vehicles.

“We’re committed to creating a healthy learning environment for all students,” noted Routley. “Investing in electric school buses is just one part of our CleanBC plan, to ensure a greener tomorrow.”

Cowichan Valley School District is getting one electric school bus and Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District two electric school buses. The districts are two of 13 across the province that have purchased a total of 18 electric school buses which will begin operating in B.C. communities by the end of this school year.

The Ministry of Education’s bus acquisition program provided $13 million for 31 school districts to buy a total of 101 new buses, including the 18 electric buses. The cost of each electric school bus is approximately $350,000, compared to $150,000 for an equivalent diesel school bus. And the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has allocated supplemental funding of up to $125,000 towards the capital costs of each of the more expensive electric buses.

As part of a new initiative launched by the Ministry of Education in April 2020, this is the first time school districts in B.C. have been able to purchase electric buses through funding from the ministry. School districts that buy electric buses also have access to provincial funding for necessary charging station infrastructure.

Electric school buses are deemed to have many advantages compared to diesel. The cost of electricity is less than fuel and fewer moving mechanical parts means they require less repair and maintenance.

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses. Overall, electric school buses are highly efficient, produce zero carbon dioxide emissions and are much more cost-effective to operate over time. A zero-emission electric school bus saves approximately 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually compared to a diesel bus.

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