The moment I saw the video at right, I realized the harm that we are doing with fossil-fuel burning school buses… and the benefits we can get if we switch to electric.
If you don’t have time for the video, here’s your executive summary:
Fossil-fuel burning school buses make a significant amount of noise, which damages hearing, pollution, which has been shown to lower test scores and IQ, and particulate matter, which is known to damage almost all organs in the human body.
As well, fossil-fuel burning school buses are expensive to operate and maintain, which soaks up money in fuel and maintenance which could otherwise be used for education. A large amount of this money goes to… oil companies. From our schools, to oil companies.
By comparison, electric buses are nearly completely silent, have zero emissions, and require little maintenance and no fuel.
Now for some more detail with citations:
Where do gasoline buses fail us compared to electric in COST?
Electric buses save $2,000/year in fuel.
Electric buses save $4,400/year in maintenance.
Where do gasoline buses fail us compared to electric in the HEALTH OF OUR CHILDREN?
Georgia State University study: Some kids rode buses with old dirty diesel engines and others rode buses with retrofitted diesel engines and emissions controls… and the kids in the cleaner buses had higher english and math standardized scores.
For every 2.5 µg/m³ increase of PM2.5 surrounding teens’ homes, their performance IQ score dropped one point. The impact of airborne pollutants in the home on student GPA is significant, even when accounting for health status. Children who were exposed to high levels of motor vehicle emissions from cars, trucks, and buses on roads and highways were found to have significantly lower GPAs, even when accounting for other factors known to influence school performance.
Poor air quality lowers IQ… by one study as much as 6 points.
Where do gasoline buses fail us compared to electric in SAFETY?
Diesel buses are relatively top-heavy… some school bus accidents are roll-overs.
Electric buses have a lower center of gravity… making them harder to roll.
You can see the NHTSAs’ comical attempts to roll a Tesla Model X here:
The “Jouley” electric bus has similar frame and battery layout as the Tesla shown in the video above.
Is the technology here for this NOW?
On average, school buses travel 32 miles per route… or 64 miles per day.
The new Thomas-built C2 “Jouley” with Proterra drive-train runs 135 miles on a charge.
So the new C2’s (being offered in this give-away) have four times the needed range.
But what about battery DEGRADATION?
Lithium-Ion batteries, which modern electric vehicles use, still hold about HALF their capacity after about 13,000 charges.
At 360 charges per year (two every school day) that’s 36 YEARS before the batteries will lose HALF their range.
So the Tomas C2 “Jouley” has four times the needed range for daily routes, and a bus purchased today will still have twice the needed range after…. 36 years of standard use.
The batteries are no longer the weak point in the system.
Technologically, that point has now been passed.
(Interestingly, modern Teslas can now do FOUR HUNDRED miles on a single charge… FARTHER than gas-burning cars: https://www.tesla.com/models …and LUCIDs, the next-gen electric cars, are now going 500 miles!)
So the batteries EASILY make the needed range for the school-bus mission… and battery range technology is increasing at a rather staggering rate of about 6% per year.
Why not leave it to the South Carolina state GOVERNMENT to solve this?
When Henry McMaster got millions of dollars in settlement funds from VW, he required the money be spent on school buses that are… powered by propane. Which is even dirtier than modern diesel engines. The South Carolina state legislature also banned any car manufacturer from showing their cars in South Carolina (56-15-45-D)… which bans Tesla from showing us their cars. (only car DEALERS are allowed to show cars in South Carolina).
The South Carolina state government is buying propane buses, rejecting electric buses, and banning Tesla (whose cars burn no fuel) from showing us their cars. They are actively blockading our access to zero-emissions vehicles.
Are there enough school buses, and do kids spend enough time on them, for this topic to matter?
There are 150,000 transit buses in USA.
There are 460,000 school buses in USA.
So school buses outnumber other transport buses 3 to 1.
Kids spend, across their entire education, and average of 2,000 hours on school buses in their life.
Two thousand hours in loud, dirty environment described above.
What we do now matters a lot.
My PERSONAL experience:
Owning a Tesla, I’ll never go back to any gas-burning car… and now we can help bring that safe, clean transportation to the kids in our schools. I’m giving three buses, and Daimler is adding a fourth. The students on these buses will benefit. Will they tell their parents about quieter, cleaner, safer ride they are getting? Will their parents demand this benefit for all of the OTHER kids in South Carolina? I can afford three buses, and Daimler is adding a fourth… will the SC State Legislature ever switch over the rest of the fleet?
Austin Meyer, austin@X-Plane.com