Electric Buses are Greener and Safer

Electric buses in Boston make it easier and safer for students to get from home to school.

It’s a typical Boston morning as a bus travels through the neighborhood streets to a school for youngsters. However, the bus is silent, despite the chatter and laughs of small children eager to get to their classes. This is because it is powered by electricity.

There are only about 480,000 battery-powered school buses in the United States. A significant proportion of school buses in the country still run on gasoline or have diesel engines. These same engines have powered numerous school buses in the United States for decades.

However, technical developments have increased the number of electric buses. These are more efficient and environmentally friendly. As a result, the United States government has underlined the significance of using these buses. As a result, the construction of these buses is mandated under the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

“It’s like a big huge go-kart. When you accelerate, you move. When you stop accelerating, you stop. And you don’t hear any sound. Driving a diesel bus is not like driving a go-kart,” said an electric bus driver.

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Electric buses will replace older ones

Many environmental groups have subsequently urged to end the manufacture and usage of diesel and gasoline school buses. Their calls highlight the environmental and child safety benefits of electric buses. While some businesses followed their plea, there were several issues to consider. The cost of electric buses is one of them. They were less affordable than buses with gasoline engines.

“They’re much better, and their savings are much greater once you actually get them into the depot. But the upfront is such that, without [government] incentives, you can’t break even [in comparison to diesel buses],” said former Environmental Protection Agency official Sue Gander.

“We think for the next three or four years, as costs come down, as the scale goes up, we’ll need to have those incentives in place to make the numbers work,” she added.

“You’ve got more expensive equipment, but it operates much cheaper. [The last piece], which everyone overlooks, is that those bus batteries can send power back to the grid to meet peak demand. And that’s an energy market’s opportunity to create additional revenue,” says Duncan McIntyre, founder of Highland Fleets.

In support of the switch

The US government will provide $5 billion in subsidies for zero-emission school buses over a five-year period under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. As a result, numerous school districts in the United States contacted the organization intending to participate in the initiative. However, the EPA states that officials will still review the institution before providing a subsidy. For example, the EPA targeted low-income neighborhoods nationwide, allocating over $1 billion to them.

“It’s really about supporting school districts, helping them understand where do electric buses fit into my fleet at the moment. And how do I plan for continuing to add them into my fleet as I go along?” Gander asked.

“How do I develop the infrastructure? How do I access the funding and financing that’s out there? And how do I involve the community in this process?”

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The zero-emission goal

The Biden administration’s initiative to move to electric powered buses is part of its drive to reduce pollution. Furthermore, the current COP27 concluded with a forceful appeal to reduce emissions, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning the world about the ramifications of the climate issue.

“We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” the secretary-general said.

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator. (The war Ukraine and other conflicts) caused so much bloodshed and violence and had dramatic impacts all over the world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change,” he added.

“To avoid that dire fate, all G-20 countries must accelerate their transition now. Developed countries must take the lead, but emerging economies are critical to bending the global emissions curve. End dependence on fossil fuels and building new coal plants — phasing out coal in OECD countries by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040.”

“The consensus is that we need to be at zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by about 2050 to avert the worst impacts of climate change,” said Ben King from the Rhodium Group.

“There is no reason to take any utility’s net-zero commitment seriously, especially if they are investing in anything that emits new CO2 or has any new emissions,” added Daniel Tait from the Energy and Policy Institute.

“The more we accelerate and keep putting greenhouse gasses into the climate now, the more we have a chance of reaching tipping points in the Earth’s system. If you start to get to these tipping points, our climate starts to change in ways that are possibly irreversible, possibly self-perpetuating,” explained Lisa Dillling, an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Photo Credit: Electrek

Source: CNBC


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