The Coalition for a Secure Energy Future joined a first of its kind electric vehicle initiative this week by working with Cass County Electric Cooperative and West Fargo Public Schools on acquiring an electric school bus.
At the November 13 meeting, the West Fargo School Board awarded bids to Hartley’s School Buses for the purchase of one Bluebird electric school bus. This will be the first all-electric school bus for the West Fargo School District and the state of North Dakota.
The program will be led by West Fargo Schools with assistance from the Coalition, Cass County Electric Cooperative, Minnkota Power Cooperative, and the North Dakota Department of Commerce.
“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.
Learn more about the ongoing project at the West Fargo Schools website.