Electric buses are on the road to Mississippi school districts

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – We’re seeing more electric cars and trucks on the road and you could soon see more at area schools.

A Columbus company is leading the charge.

The wheels on the bus still go round and round but now the bus is powered by electricity.

This is a growing concept, especially as gas prices rise and sometimes fall.

A business in the area is now able to provide schools with electric school buses and many local schools are considering this new way of travel.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently gave schools opportunities to ride on the wheels of electric school buses.

The Clean School Bus program has already awarded $36 million dollars to Mississippi for the buses.

Waters Truck and Tractor can provide schools across the state with electric vehicles.

Marketing Director Shasta Dodd said the buses are a way to upgrade to more efficient transportation.

“It’s going to allow some districts to replace some of their older vehicles in a more timely fashion at little to no cost and that’s mainly because of the EPA’s clean school bus rebates that are available right now. In 2022 they released 1 billion dollars to funding. Coming in the spring there’s an additional one billion dollars that will be released and the possibility to an additional billion at the end of the year so a lot of these federal funds are coming in and making these vehicles available,” said Dodd.

While federal grants are helping school districts with the update, many don’t plan to completely get rid of their diesel school buses.

Dodd said one advantage of electric school buses is the savings at the pump and in the garage.

“They are fully electric. You’re not going to have any gas costs or lower maintenance costs like replacing the brakes as often.
And they have a few more safety mechanisms and some of the internal working parts of the engine are gone away you don’t have that problem anymore,” said Dodd

And the most important thing that parent’s think about is the safety features.

“You’re seeing collision mitigation. You’re seeing electronic stability control. We have to stop arms that pop out that will give an automobile alert to a child if it thinks a car is going to cross that extended stop arm keeps that child from crossing the street and also the connected systems so if you have a bus that is on the activity trip counties away and the light comes on that transportation director can pull up their phones to see what that light is and the severity of that light and make good decisions on how to get that kid to make it safe to and from that event,” said Dodd.

No school districts in the area currently have electric school buses from Waters Truck and Tractor.

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