Partnership forged to shift student transit to electric power

Posted: 27 January 2021 | | No comments yet

Some of the biggest names in student transit in the US have teamed up to electrify thousands of vehicles across the country in a bid to turn the famous yellow buses green.

US and Canadian school buses

First Student, First Transit, and NextEra Energy Resources have announced they have entered into a framework agreement and are working toward a joint venture to pursue the electrification of tens of thousands of school and public transportation vehicles across the US and Canada.

The collaboration brings together some of the biggest names in school and public transportation in North America to foster innovation and accelerate the mass adoption of zero-emission vehicles.  

The transition to electric vehicles for the school and public transportation sector is expected to play a critical role in helping communities improve air quality and environmental health for student passengers, transit riders and area residents.

In addition, the coalition claims that utilising the sizeable batteries of school and public transportation electric vehicle fleets for distributed energy storage and grid services has the potential to make a significant contribution to long-term sustainable clean energy transition in North America.

The US and Canada combined represent the largest homogeneous student transportation market in the world, with approximately 520,000 yellow school buses in total. There are certain factors however which the partnership believes makes it perfect for the transition to electric vehicles.

There is an increased demand for clean, pollution-free school buses from schools, communities, parents, and student passengers. In addition, the partnership says the strategic location of school bus depots makes it easier to install the necessary charging, storage and grid connection infrastructure. Finally, the predictable daily schedules of school buses, provides a greater opportunity to optimise power charging and balance the grid. 

“We are proud to take this significant step to improve the environmental health of our student passengers and the communities we serve,” said President of First Student, Paul Osland.

“The electrification of school buses has already started and is poised to accelerate rapidly. This collaboration will position First Student as North America’s leading owner and operator of electric school buses.” 

President of First Transit, Brad Thomas, added: “First Transit has led the way in mobility solutions for more than 60 years. With battery and electric vehicle prices falling rapidly, and with an increasing focus on sustainability, many fleets are preparing for wholesale electrification.

“The collaboration with NextEra Energy Resources will position First Transit as the leading provider of sustainable passenger transportation solutions in North America.”

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