WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Washington County Tennessee Schools are set to add a brand new method of transportation for students: an all-electric school bus.
The new bus features an entirely electric motor system and will give members of the media a ride on June 3 for its official unveiling.
The new member of the WCS fleet found its way to the county through a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Brightridge and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Half of the cost of the vehicle was covered by TDEC, with donations from Brightridge and the TVA covering the remainder.
In a call with News Channel 11 Dr. Jarrod Adams, Assistant Director of Schools, shared some details regarding the bus itself.
Built by Lion Electric, based in Canada, the bus has been designed from the ground up for electric propulsion rather than other converted diesel vehicles.
Adams said the projected range for the vehicle is around 120 miles per charge after accounting for the terrain of Washington County, and planned routes top out at 70 miles.
While mass rollout would be ideal, Dr. Adams said the main challenge is the system’s current price. As costs decrease for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, the numbers of electric vehicles in the fleet is expected to increase.
One aspect that parents and Washington County residents may be thankful for is the new lack of noise in the early hours of the school day. Dr. Adams said the vehicle runs completely silently, and actually requires a noise generator similar at certain speeds to warn pedestrians of its presence.
A driving candidate has been selected for training, and is expected to be prepared to carry students to and from summer programs.