Electric School Buses For Barre Expected To Arrive Next Week

BARRE, Vt. (AP) — Two electric school buses could be on the roads in Barre in a couple of weeks, school officials said.

The buses are part of a pilot project to test their effectiveness in colder climates, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reported. Last month, Gov. Phil Scott and education leaders celebrated the introduction of electric buses in Fairfax. The buses are also being used by the Champlain Valley School District as well as the Barre Unified Union District.

The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately save school districts money, officials said. An emissions settlement with Volkswagen is funding most of the project.

Barre's two buses are expected to arrive late next week and the drivers will need to be trained to use them, Jamie Evans, the district’s facilities director, told the Barre Town select board this week.

“I dare say within a couple weeks I think you’ll probably see them on the road,” he said.

Chris Hennessey, interim superintendent of the Barre Unified Union School District, said it will be interesting to see how the buses perform with the hills in Barre.

“We’re a good testing ground,” Hennessey said.

Julie Moore, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, said the state wants to lead in combating climate change.

“Electrification of Vermont’s school bus fleet is a critical component of addressing transportation emissions," she said previously.

Over the life of a bus, participating schools could save as much as $36,000 in fuel costs while annual greenhouse gas emissions will be about 97% lower than diesel buses.