Knox County looking to add more electric buses

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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EDINA, Mo. (WGEM) - The streets of Knox County may be more electrified next school year as the Knox County R1 School District looks to add more electric buses.

The district already owns three electric buses, and Superintendent Andy Turgeon said the buses have been successful so far.

“Our drivers that drive the electric buses really like them, the students love them. They’re quiet, they’re smooth, they don’t bounce as much and it saves the district money,” said Turgeon.

He said the electric buses can save the district anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 a year on fuel costs alone.

On top of the money saved on fuel, the district would be purchasing the buses and charging equipment using an EPA grant, thus saving the district hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have otherwise been spent on new diesel buses.

“The EPA has just announced that we are a priority school, which means we could get our buses for free, electric buses, so we will probably look into maybe applying for two more, and just see how it goes,” said Turgeon.

If the two new buses are approved, a third of the district’s 15 bus fleet would then be electric.

Turgeon said the district could qualify for up to 25 buses according to the EPA.

However, he said they plan to take a slower approach to give mechanics and district staff time to adjust.

“This is a new field, even for the bus companies that have them out there, this is new. So finding people to work on them isn’t like going to the nearest garage and asking for help,” said Turgeon.

Turgeon also said they plan on keeping some diesel buses for field trips and longer distance runs that would exceed the range for electric buses.

He said for any other school districts interested in looking at electric buses, he recommends researching the range needed for each district combined with the needs for the buses.

You can find a full list of EPA Priority Schools which would get first access to the technology here.

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