VP Harris seen with electric bus in Virginia, early 2022---Getty Images
VP Harris seen with electric bus in Virginia, early 2022---Getty Images

During a visit to Seattle on Wednesday, October 26th, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a $1 billion-dollar EV school bus program.

   Program will be divided up between about 400 districts across the nation

According to reports from Gov. Inslee's office and KING-5 TV, the program will provide funding for grants that will pay for electric school buses. Michael Regan, Administrator for the EPA, said the "mostly" electric buses will provide a cleaner environment for children.

According to the EPA, only about 1 percent of the estimated 480,000 school buses in current use in the US are electric.

99 percent of the grants in the project will go towards districts that are considered low-income, including tribal. Seattle was one of the cities chosen to receive some grant money.

Regan did not elaborate on what he meant by "mostly" electric. He also did not address what are considered the four biggest drawbacks of such vehicles. According to School Transportation News, they are:

  • Higher purchase price 
  • Charging infrastructure (building the plug-in facilities to recharge them)
  • Driver and technician training. 
  • Range (how many miles they can go without recharging) 

That last hurdle could prove to be problematic for districts that service wide-spread areas, and have to remain on tight, concise schedules.

The most notable district in WA using a few of these units, Franklin Pierce, is an inner-city district in Tacoma and is very 'square-shaped" and compressed. It is far different from many rural districts, some of whose children ride anywhere from 10-30 miles to and from school.

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Multiple reports also indicate districts that experience colder weather could see as much as 30 percent of battery life drained due to excessive stress and having to heat the bus for the riders.

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