Fairfax Co. Public Schools celebrates first electric school bus fleet

Virginia

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has officially launched their new electric school bus fleet.

The initiative is a part of the district’s goal to become completely carbon neutral by 2035. The division celebrated the launch of their eight electric buses on Wednesday, equipped with Wi-Fi and a rechargeable battery.

“It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to address climate change, and it takes a village to bring electric school buses to FCPS. We are doing all of that today,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand.

FCPS is part of the Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force, aimed at creating environmental sustainability in the county. School officials say these buses are the first step in creating a cleaner, greener way to transport students.

“Now, with the additional delivery of electric Fairfax County Public Schools will have 18 of the 50 electric buses in Virginia, and we are committed to making our fleet all-electric in the years ahead,” said Brabrand.

FCPS received the buses after applying for a grant from Dominion Energy. School officials say the amount of buses they will purchase in the future relies on funding, as the cost of an electric bus is three times that of a diesel.

“In the long run, it is expected that maintenance and operating costs will be significantly reduced, as the price and production will be reduced as quantities increase,” said Francine Furby, Director of Transportation Services for FCPS.

Both the school board and Board of Supervisors say they are working together to reach the ultimate goal of obtaining an all-electric fleet by the 2035 deadline.

“The school board is committed to providing FCPS with energy and resource stewardship to meet the urgent challenges of climate change,” said Stella Pekarsky, Fairfax County school board chair.

According to Joseph Welborn, vehicle coordinator for FCPS, the school system is holding off on purchasing large quantities of these buses, saying they’re waiting for the second and third-generation models to be released.

The school district is set to receive another grant from the Department of Environmental Quality for those additional 10 buses to be delivered by spring 2022.

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