Three new GCPS school buses will be yellow on the outside, but inside, these buses will be green and run on electricity rather than diesel fuel.
GCPS will use a $1,185,000 grant awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency in their 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate program to make the bus purchases. The School Board accepted the grant award at their November 8 meeting. It authorized the superintendent to negotiate a 15-year participation agreement with Dominion Energy in exchange for turn-key installation and maintenance of needed charging infrastructure. The charging station will be included in the new Goochland Elementary School construction plans.
“For the price of one diesel bus replacement, with the grant funding, we will be able to purchase three electric school buses and the needed infrastructure improvements,” Debbie White, GCPS Chief Financial Officer, said.
Purchasing electric school buses aligns with the division’s Engage 2026 Strategic Goal to maintain and create sustainable facilities and equipment. “We’ve reviewed this for several years, and I think it is positive for our school division. This is the right time,” Division Superintendent Jeremy Raley, Ed.D., said to the Board at their meeting.
GCPS was notified in October that it was granted a full award following a national lottery of all submitted applications. Twelve other school divisions received grant funding, and 51 divisions were waitlisted.
“These buses are cleaner and quieter and require less maintenance,” GCPS Director of Transportation Rosa Holman said. “We also won’t have to worry about diesel shortages, like we are seeing now.” The electric buses will cost 11 to 12 cents a mile to recharge, far less than current diesel prices, and will have a range of 130-140 miles. A typical GCPS bus averages 60 miles each day.