Going from Fuel to Charge
By: Abdullah Alabria
What would you do with an extra US$770 a year? Buy a new laptop? Pay off debt? This is how much extra money you can save from switching to electric vehicles instead of gasoline-fueled ones. This is the age of clean, zero-emission, whisper-quiet, and all electric transportation, driven by the global concern of global warming and maintaining nonrenewable sources. While the adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly increasing due to continuous development of technology, electrical buses specifically are becoming more affordable.
Why are we in need of electric buses? Kids call it the singing bus because it has no sound and runs so quietly. State officials use electric buses to limit kids’ exposure to harmful emissions of diesel buses and maintain a clean studying environment. The benefit of electrifying school buses affects both users and the environment. For users, the cost and rate plans of electricity vary across service providers, nonetheless plug refueling is always cheaper than using pumps. That said, rate plans may change through the country, but UCS says that at least one rate plan in each location makes driving an EV cheaper than driving an average gasoline vehicle. Besides that, Timothy Shannon, the district’s transportation minister in White Plains, says that charging electric buses has a 75% lower cost because of the off-peak charging periods, that is when electricity rates are lower. Off-peak plans can yield a big reduction in the cost of charging which is about one dollar lower per gallon than the current price of gasoline. Additionally, Maintenance costs can add up further potential savings for owners. Since EVs don’t have a gasoline engine and use simpler gearing and transmission mechanisms than gasoline-powered, they require no routine fixes nor periodic changes for oil, filters, and fluids. For electric buses, the maintenance cost is 60 percent less to repair, which is a huge amount of savings considering the number of buses that each school has. For the environment, nonrenewable sources like coal and petroleum would be sustained and fewer emissions produced. “Beyond the economic factors, school administrators in White Plains see an intangible value in electric buses: They’re educational.” White Plains managers are also keen to find a cleaner educational space for students. They associate environmental portions into their curriculum and encourage students to blend in. Thus, the electric bus could be utilized as a teachable tool where schools use it to grow awareness in kids about global warming and other environmental issues.
Critics raise questions about why states spend billions on a small number of buses while there are cheaper ways to clean up the air pollution, suggesting that pollution can be reduced by finding a cleaner diesel technology for vehicles. “Today’s vehicles emit only about 1% of the pollution than they did in the 1960s, and new innovations continue to improve those engines’ efficiency and cleanliness.” Arizona aims to spend $38 million on cleaner fueled buses to eliminate pollution. Furthermore, Bluebird, a bus manufacturer located in Fort Valley, tends to sell more propane-fueled buses since schools can afford them without subsidies. On the other side, some environmental groups and organizations are persuading states to spend money to replace diesel buses with electric ones. Recently, Illinois gave $10.8 million for electric buses, Indiana put in $2.9 million, and New York is planning to fund some electric buses. A partnership between the state and Consolidated Edison, the local electric utility, was set up to help to afford buses for the White Plains school. In return, Consolidated Edison gets the authority to use the buses in summer while schools are closed, and buses set idle to empower the grid. The grid project is a way for utilities to finance schools with electric buses elsewhere in the state.
It’s true that the transition to electric buses will cost a lot, but if we think about it for the long run, we are actually saving money and also saving the environment from tons of carbon emissions produced by the convenient yellow buses, keeping in mind the huge number of buses that are being driven every day. The outcomes of this can also expand to having healthy and environmentally aware generations.
Edited for spelling, grammar, and clarity
The Wheels on These Buses Go Round and Round With Zero Emissions
Brad Plumer – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/climate/electric-school-buses.html?.
Going From Pump To Plug (2017)