Sooke School District first in B.C. to launch electric buses

Sooke School District first in B.C. to launch electric buses
File photo.

The Sooke School District has achieved a green milestone as it became the first to shuttle students on B.C.’s first fleet of electric school buses this week.

The buses produce zero carbon dioxide and offer a smoother, quieter and healthier ride than the diesel buses in use before them, the B.C. government said in a statement Thursday.

The zero-emission buses will save about 17 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

“Electric school buses produce zero emissions and also support CleanBC‘s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030, helping build a cleaner, healthier future for all of us,” said Premier John Horgan, who is also the MLA for Langford-Juan De Fuca where the district is located.

The district received two of the buses, while other districts on Vancouver Island will also benefit, including Nanaimo-Ladysmith (two buses), Qualicum (one bus), Vancouver Island West (one) and Vancouver Island North (one).

Sooke is one of 13 school districts that have purchased a total of 18 electric buses, with the remainder of the buses to go into operation by the end of the school year. That means about 1,300 K-12 students will be able to ride an electric bus to and from school.

The buses have other advantages, the government said, as they require fewer repairs and less maintenance due to fewer moving mechanical parts.

The buses were purchased through the Ministry of Education’s Bus Acquisition program, with each costing around $350,000 — a jump from the $150,000 it costs to purchase equivalent diesel buses.

B.C.’s energy ministry provided funding of up to $150,000 for each electric bus.

Here is each B.C. school district that is getting an electric bus:

  • SD 5 – Southeast Kootenay (one)
  • SD 6 – Rocky Mountain (one)
  • SD 20 – Kootenay-Columbia (one)
  • SD 22 – Vernon (two)
  • SD 23 – Central Okanagan (3)
  • SD 62 – Sooke (two)
  • SD 67 – Okanagan-Skaha (one)
  • SD 68 – Nanaimo Ladysmith (two)
  • SD 69 – Qualicum (one)
  • SD 73 – Kamloops-Thompson (one)
  • SD 79 – Cowichan Valley (one)
  • SD 84 – Vancouver Island West (one)
  • SD 85 – Vancouver Island North (one)

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