For Immediate Release – September 5, 2023
Leigh Martin, Environmental Analyst
Department of Environmental Conservation
VEIC and DEC Share Report on Electric Bus Pilot Project
Montpelier, Vt. – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and VEIC have released a report on Vermont’s Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program. As a part of this pilot, three schools and one transit agency replaced a total of eight diesel-powered buses with electric buses, yielding significant cost savings and reductions in harmful air pollution, including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and greenhouse gases compared to conventional buses.
“Before launching this project, we did not know how heavy-duty electric vehicles might perform in Vermont – especially with our cold winters and hilly dirt roads,” said Interim DEC Commissioner Neil Kamman. “The report on this pilot program will help us assess if deploying electric buses statewide is cost-effective and feasible long-term and, if so, how best to deploy electric buses to maximize their benefits.”
The pilot decreased emissions of air pollutants, including NOx and particulate matter, compared to diesel buses, helping to lessen impacts of diesel emissions on public health and the environment. Both NOx and particulate matter are linked to exacerbated health conditions such as asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Additionally, the report shows that the electric school buses saved school districts an average of nearly $2,000 in fuel savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 10.1 US tons for every 10,000 miles driven, compared to conventional diesel-powered school buses. Over the first year of operation the electric transit buses averaged nearly $12,000 in fuel savings per bus and reduced an average of 35.5 US tons of greenhouse gas emissions per bus over an average of 15,000 miles when compared to conventional diesel-powered transit buses.
In the report, DEC and VEIC highlight their approaches to maximize the benefits of the Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program. They include:
- Evaluate the feasibility of electric buses and charging equipment operating under a full range of route conditions and settings comparable to conventional diesel-powered buses,
- Prioritize project partners using additional supporting funding to amplify the cost-effectiveness of available funds,
- Maximize air quality benefits by considering factors like model years of buses replaced, vehicle miles traveled, and areas disproportionately impacted by air contaminants, and
- Familiarize as many Vermonters from different communities, demographic profiles, and geographic regions as possible to electric bus technologies.
“Currently 40% of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, so electrifying our cars, trucks, and buses is a crucial step forward in reducing Vermont’s emissions,” said Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, VEIC Director of Consulting. “We hope this report can provide confidence in future electric vehicle investments.”
VEIC oversaw the pilot, provided guidance and technical assistance, and helped collect and analyze data from electric bus deployments by the following partners:
- Barre Unified Union School District in partnership with Student Transportation of America,
- Champlain Valley School District,
- Franklin West Supervisory Union, and
- Marble Valley Regional Transit District in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The pilot was funded with $4 million of Vermont’s $18.7 million allocation of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust fund. The settlement fund was created with the goal of achieving reductions in NOx emissions after VW violated the federal Clean Air Act.
Read the full report online. Learn more about diesel emissions reduction assistance or projects such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program. For more information, contact Leigh Martin at 802-261-0713 or Leigh.Martin@vermont.gov or Deirdra Ritzer at 802-233-8052 or Deirdra.Ritzer@vermont.gov.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit dec.vermont.gov and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.
VEIC is a sustainable energy company on a mission to generate the energy solutions the world needs. For over 35 years, VEIC has worked with governments, utilities, foundations, and businesses across North America to develop and deploy clean energy services that provide immediate and lasting change. With expertise in energy efficiency, building decarbonization, transportation electrification, and new approaches for a clean and flexible grid, VEIC brings innovative solutions to the market. VEIC is nationally recognized for developing pilots and programs that optimize energy use, reduce energy burdens for low-income customers, and advance new technologies. In addition to our full-service consulting business, VEIC administers three large-scale sustainable energy programs: Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Smart, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). veic.org.