Just a few years ago, electric school buses were a novel concept. In fact, in late 2017, our client Thomas Built Buses, the leading school bus manufacturer in the nation, debuted their first electric school bus prototype. And while the bus was awe-inspiring, it felt futuristic. Like something that would definitely happen, but not anytime soon. Fast forward just a little over three years and hundreds of electric school buses are now on the roads all over the United States and Canada.
As it happens, school buses are actually the perfect use-case for electrification. They have short pre-planned routes, a break mid-day to charge, and long stretches of time when they aren’t in use over holidays, weekends or during the summer. Plus, what could be better than providing clean, zero emission transportation to the children who depend on school buses every day?
The prospect of electric school buses is even more appealing to utility providers. To them, school buses are essentially giant batteries on wheels, where energy can be stored and then pulled back onto the energy grid during high usage periods or even during power outages such as during national disasters.
But just like electric cars and electric on-highway trucks, school buses are on the cusp of what the future of electrification will bring. Recently, we helped Thomas Built Buses host a podcast on that future. Part one of this podcast is below if you’d like to take a peek behind the curtain and see what’s in store for school buses and the communities who use them.