The Plainview-Old Bethpage School District will demonstrate its commitment to sustainable eco-friendly initiatives by adding a “green” bus to its fleet this year. The electronic bus, powered by a network of rechargeable batteries, has an electric motor and does not use fuel of any kind, so both engine noise and toxic emissions are eliminated.
“It doesn’t have a transmission. It has very few moving parts, and the vehicle is charged up overnight when the electric grid is being used the least so it’s off-peak,” said Bart Marksohn of WE Transport Inc.
The bus will cost $100,000, just about the same as a traditional school bus; but it is quieter, cleaner and less expensive to maintain.
District officials said that the new bus will cut down on a number of problems caused by traditional school buses, and by implementing it schools are reinforcing the environmentally-conscious issues that students are learning about every day in their classrooms.
According to an article in the online edition of Networking magazine entitled, “The Eco-Friendly School”, there are many reasons why adding sustainable, green initiatives is the right thing to do.
“Green schools benefit the environment because they use less energy, less water, and non-toxic materials. The benefit to students’ health is clear: The chemicals found in traditional cleaning supplies and the exhaust that’s released into the air from idling buses are proven to contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems.”
Both students and parents are very supportive of the new initiative that begins with a single test run bus.
The electric bus proposal will be presented at a school board meeting within the next 60 days; and, if approved, the first electric buses will join the district’s fleet in September.
Other Long Island school districts are also adding eco-friendly buses to their fleets. Last year, Riverhead schools purchased two Blue Bird propane-powered buses for the district at a cost of $102,000 each. The buses were designed to reduce carbon emissions and save money on fuel and oil changes.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, propane is non-toxic, presents no threat to soil, surface water or groundwater and has the lowest flammability of all alternative fuels. In addition to being a “greener” alternative, using propane vehicles instead of conventionally fueled vehicles would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and increase energy security.