GreenPower Motor, a manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty EVs, has deployed electric school buses in three West Virginia counties as part of a pilot project to demonstrate e-buses in school transportation operations across the state. The company will soon be producing buses in the state—in August, the company opened a manufacturing facility in South Charleston.
Three all-electric GreenPower Type D BEAST school buses, along with the required charging infrastructure, have gone into service in Cabell, Kanawha and Mercer counties. In the coming weeks, a fourth pilot bus—a Type A Nano BEAST with ADA capabilities—will be deployed in Clay County.
Each county will test the electric buses for a six-week period, then each bus will move to a different county in order to demonstrate the buses in different parts of the state. The pilot project will collect data about range, charging, handling and maneuverability, operating and maintenance savings, student and parent acceptance and more. “The data will help with the anxiety of change as districts look to create a new beginning of a clean school day,” says GreenPower.
West Virginia has 55 public school districts, which operate approximately 2,900 school buses. According to GreenPower, these will be the first electric school buses in operation in the state.
“West Virginia is a perfect location for the first true pilot project of all-electric, purpose-built, zero-emission school buses,” said Fraser Atkinson, CEO of GreenPower. “The terrain, weather conditions and the combination of rural and urban settings will give a real-life demonstration of the school buses’ capabilities. The only way for school districts to become comfortable with the new technology is through hands-on experience.”