Montgomery County Public Schools has been approved for a grant that will provide the district its first electric bus.
The vehicle will be a special education bus, but when exactly it will go into service hasn’t been finalized yet, MCPS officials said.
“The sooner, the better,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Tommy Kranz.
Kranz said the district is still working out the details on the charging station, which he added is an important facet of the initiative as the district hopes to operate a fully electric fleet at some point in the future.
The grant for the bus is coming from Appalachian Power Company. MCPS officials said the electric bus costs $300,000, with the district covering a third of that amount and the electricity provider covering the rest.
The electric bus will essentially cost the same as a typical diesel unit, which is about $100,000 for the district, Superintendent Mark Miear said. The district then generates savings down the road as the electric buses cost less to operate than their diesel counterparts, he said.
MCPS currently maintains a fleet of 130 buses.
Overall, Miear said the upcoming addition and the overall hope to operate an entirely electric fleet help fulfill a goal to become more environmentally friendly.
“I think it’s good for us to be an example in this community,” he said.
Miear said the district is exploring green initiatives elsewhere, including Christiansburg High School. He said the district is looking at the potential use of solar panels at that school, which is set to undergo a significant renovation and expansion in the near future.
With its electric bus, MCPS is among a handful of entities in the region looking to seriously reduce dependency on diesel fueled vehicles.
The Blacksburg Transit earlier this year launched its first-ever group of electric buses and officials with the town announced that the five units are part of long-term plans to eventually operate an entirely electric fleet.