School District 8 has purchased its first two electric buses that will begin transporting students in the fall.
The buses will be split between Nelson and Creston schools when the academic year resumes in September.
Chris Kerr, acting director of operations for SD8, said the district is going to test the vehicles in a variety of situations with the eventual goal of replacing its 54-fleet of diesel buses with the electric models.
“They’ll be on daily runs, we’ll be putting them on field trips and we’re collecting as much data as we possibly can,” said Kerr.
The buses cost approximately $350,000 to $440,000 each, depending on the model and options, according to SD8 manager of operations Lisa Phillips.
That’s more than double the price of a conventional diesel bus, which costs between $130,000 to $145,000.
But Phillips said there are long-term savings to be made by making the switch. The district will save approximately $5,000 annually in maintenance costs and $10,000 in fuel with the new buses compared to diesel.
“These are certainly amazing pieces of equipment coming,” said Phillips.
Diesel buses are replaced after 12 years or when their mileage hits 350,000 kilometres. The Ministry of Education provides funding up to $140,000 per bus.
For the electric bus, the education ministry funded it up to the cost of a diesel bus plus an extra $25,000. CleanBC funding also provides 33 per cent of the cost up to $125,000, and the district also used a loan from the federal Canada Infrastructure Bank to make up the difference.
Electric school buses made their debut in B.C. last year with the introduction of 18 in districts across the province, one of which was sent to SD20 Kootenay-Columbia in Trail.