First electric school bus in the state runs first routes

First electric school bus in the state runs first routes
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s first electric-powered school bus has been covering routes for the past week in Wolfe County.

We caught up with Wolfe County Schools transportation director to find out how the new bus is working out.

“Students love it,” Wolfe Co. Schools Transportation Director John Halsey said. “I ask them every day when they get off the bus. They like the quietness of the bus, just the overall ride of it. It’s smooth.”

In the EV’s first week, Halsey placed bus number 2230 to pick up students at Red River Valley Elementary School. He says he’s noticed the noise level on the inside of the 66-passenger bus has decreased compared to driving a diesel-fueled bus.

“The students are actually quieter on the bus because they are not having to talk over the noise of the engine. You wouldn’t think that the engine puts out that kind of noise, but it does,” Halsey said.

At this point, the bus travels 100 miles a day on the Wolfe County roads. The battery range is 138 miles, but he thinks he can get 150 miles out of it.

When his route is complete, he has a 50% charge on the battery. At the end of the day, he plugs it up for another run tomorrow.

On empty, it takes 8 hours for a full charge.

“I’d wish we had that we’d had these electric buses years ago,” Halsey said. “The safety features on it, the cameras that you can see all the way around the bus, it’s great.”

Halsey says a diesel-fueled bus burns 15 gallons a day, which is $52 a day charging it. Running the same route is about $25 to $30 a day.

We asked if there are any concerns with the battery operating power in the extreme cold temperatures; Halsey says he sees no issues with the bus in the wintertime.

Halsey says there are three more electric school buses coming to Wolfe County between October and November.