Carson City School District welcomes first electric bus

Carson City School District unveils its first electric bus, which will be put to use this fall.

Carson City School District unveils its first electric bus, which will be put to use this fall.

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The Carson City School District has received its first electric bus and will put it to use this fall, officials said Friday.

The district recently received a special use permit from the city to install electric vehicle charging stations at Carson High. In all, four electric buses will be added as a part of the contract the district has with NV Energy and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

The second bus is in the final phases of production, and it is not known when the other two will be delivered, according to fiscal services director Spencer Winward.

“The benefits would be the green initiative, obviously, to take the emissions of diesel engine off the streets of Carson City,” Winward said. “The partnership that we have with the grants that are helping to provide these is great. It’ll be great to get some real-world test data and see how well it works in our fleet.”

Winward said the district will install charging stations and their infrastructure during the summer with the hope of giving the buses an approximate 10-year lifespan.

“They don’t have the range that diesel or alternative buses offer,” he said. “We can’t take these on the road for some of our field trips and sporting events yet.”

The buses will be available for the school’s planned routes and officials will monitor bus data as the technology develops, he added.

As far as other differences, the electric bus sports a green bird instead of blue on its exterior, and inside it offers seatbelts. The driver also has a backup camera and it offers a quieter ride.

Winward said Washoe and Clark counties are working on adding electric vehicles but was not aware of other rural districts doing the same. Dan Davis, spokesman for the district, said Carson City is ideal because of its location.

“We’re centrally localized … I think this is beneficial,” Davis said. “We’re just within a 15-minute drive of everything.”

In 2021, the costs for two of the electric buses and training were estimated to be about $1.26 million. Winward said electric buses typically run about $200,000 more than a diesel bus, not quite double, but the environmental impacts would suggest they’re likely the future for transportation.

He also said Carson City has been successful at using opportunities in these green projects for educational purposes for students as they explore how diesel or electric buses are used, for example.

“A lot of our fifth- and sixth-grade students will gather data and look at some of the alternatives and turn that into some of their science classes,” he said.


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