UPDATE – The Youth Lobby’s Stance on Electric School Busses in Vermont

The Vermont Youth Lobby is asking for 85% of the $18.7 million Volkswagen settlement to be spent on electric school busses and charging equipment. We want MAGIC SCHOOL BUSES!

Please TAKE ACTION by doing the following things:

  1. Sign our Online Petition at change.org!  It only takes a minute of your time!
  2. Download our paper petition and get as many signatures as possible at your school and in your local community.  Please scan your completed petitions to youthlobbyvt@gmail.com or mail them to VT Youth Lobby, 141 Wade Road, Moretown VT, 05660. Please scan or email all petitions to us by January 5th, 2018.  A group of Youth Lobby students will hand deliver these petitions to the ANR and Phil Scott’s office during the week of January 8th.  (let us know if you are interested in being part of this crew..)
  3. Send a comment to the decision makers at the VT Agency of Natural Resources.  VPIRG has a great online tool to help you do this quickly and easily – Send a Comment!
  4. Contact your local representatives and encourage them to show their support for electric school buses. https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/
  5. Share this post far and wide and encourage as many of your family and friends to learn more about this opportunity!

The Vermont Youth Lobby’s stance on the feasibility of electric school buses in Vermont.

#1 – We are asking the ANR to devote 85% of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation funds to the creation of an electric school bus pilot program. We believe it is short-sighted to use this money to invest in more “clean” diesel technology, when we have the opportunity to invest in much cleaner electric motor technology.  The purpose of these funds should be to mitigate the harm caused by Volkswagen’s “clean” diesel technology, and nothing more.

#2 – We are asking for a special committee to be established that would determine the specifics of the pilot program.  However, we feel ideal candidates would be school districts that currently manage their own busing fleet.  Grants made directly to these school districts would help reduce school budgets and, therefore, save VT taxpayers money.  We believe preference should also be given to school districts that receive their electrical energy from sources that are at least 90% renewable, which would help maximize reductions in carbon emissions.

#3 – We acknowledge the validity of the VEIC study, and are aware that the overall costs of an electric school bus will likely be greater than the cost of a traditional diesel bus. However, we offer the following thoughts for consideration:

  • For people truly concerned about the economic feasibility of a large-scale electric school bus deployment, this is an amazing opportunity for us to get real data.  We can use this empirical evidence to make wise decisions about where best to invest our tax money in the future.
  • The state will be receiving this money over the next three years and it is quite possible that diesel fuel prices could increase, or the cost of electric school busses could decrease over that length of time. The costs of electric school buses are only projected to go down, while the cost of diesel fuel is generally projected to increase.  Any changes in costs would, more than likely, work in favor of increased affordability.
  • At least one school bus company, Lion of Quebec, has offered an additional discount on the purchase of at least 10 school buses.
  • It is possible that newer school bus technology could make these buses feasible beyond the 10 year life expectancy noted in the VEIC study.  It may also be possible to secure some sort of warranty with one of the major school bus companies.  There is at least one electric school bus company, Lion of Quebec, that claims the lifespan of their busses is longer than traditional school busses due to unique design elements such as corrosion-free polyethylene stepwalls and battery boxes, as well as corrosion-free composite bodies and doors. Detailed specs can be found on their website https://thelionelectric.com/pdfs/specifications-school-en.pdf
  • We believe some additional costs are actually well worth the investment, given the enormous benefits these school buses would provide, including but not limited to:
    • Dramatically reduced air pollution
    • Dramatically reduced carbon emissions
    • Increased public awareness of electric vehicle technology (these buses can serve as mobile billboards, done tastefully, of course)
    • Opportunities for students to learn more about electric vehicle technology in the classroom – students can analyze real data.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *