Mountain Views Supervisory Union Welcomes Three New Electric School Buses

By Jenevra Wetmore

Grant partners stand in front of a new all-electric school bus. Pictured left to right: Emo Chynoweth, Vice President and COO, Butler’s Bus Service; James Fenn, Mountain Views Supervisory Union Director of Finance and Operations; Brian Cressey, President of W.C. Cressey & Son ; Harry Falconer, Intermunicipal Regional Energy Coordinator, TRORC.

Locals will soon notice yellow school buses with bright blue bumpers driving around town,
picking up and dropping off students. The blue coloring isn’t just decorative– it marks the
district’s three brand new all-electric school buses. These buses mark a significant stride
towards reducing the carbon footprint of student transportation, and underscores the school
district’s commitment to a greener future.

The three new electric buses are funded by the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. TRORC’s
Intermunicipal Energy Coordinator, which provides Energy Coordinator services to six local
towns including Woodstock, applied for this grant in collaboration with Sustainable Woodstock,
the Mountain Views Supervisory Union, and Butler’s Bus Service. The grant provided $1.125
million dollars for the buses, and an additional $60,000 towards the charging infrastructure. The
district paid an additional $63,000 for the charging stations– the only funding the district
contributed to the project. These three new all-electric buses are replacing diesel buses that are
between ten and twelve years old, making this a great long-term investment.

All three buses are Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric buses, manufactured by Thomas Built Buses.
The buses are zero-emissions and use no fossil fuels, even in heating the interior of the bus.
They have a 244-kWh standard battery capacity with a maximum range of 150 miles, which
fluctuates depending on factors including temperature and how they are driven. The buses will
primarily be used to transport students to and from school. They will be charged overnight to
prepare for the morning route and can also be charged during the day so that they are ready
for afternoon drop off.

The decision to introduce electric school buses reflects the Supervisory Union’s dedication to
environmental stewardship. The existing Woodstock Union Middle School and High School
(WUHSMS) sits next to Union Arena, the first net-zero rink in the United States. As James Fenn,
Director of Finance and Operations, said, the buses “fit with the community philosophy of being
environmentally responsible… this is what we have to do to protect the environment.”

A report published in June 2023 by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) found that, over the first year of operation, one electric school bus can lower greenhouse
gas emissions by over 11 tons annually (for reference, the U.S. EPA has found that a typical 22
MPG gas-based car emits about 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year). Transportation is the
largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont, and accounts for approximately 40% of
all our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Replacing diesel buses with all-electric buses is a big
step towards lowering those emissions.

In addition to the environmental impact, electric school buses will positively impact student
health and save the district money. The relatively low cost and stable price of electricity
compared to diesel, combined with an overall more efficient drivetrain on electric buses, will result in considerable reductions in annual fuel expenses; the Vermont DEC found that electric buses can achieve $8,000 in fuel savings per bus per year. In addition, without an engine, transmission, engine exhaust, or many other components prone to wear and tear, maintenance
savings can potentially outweigh fuel savings. The health effects of electric versus diesel buses
are also significant; diesel exhaust contains pollutants including NOx and particulate matter that
increase risk for asthma and respiratory diseases. The buses are also much quieter than their
diesel counterparts, making for a quieter commute and less noise pollution around town.

The Mountain Views Supervisory Union expects that the buses will be on the road in April, as
they are still waiting for the charging equipment to be installed. Keep an eye out for the blue
bumpers driving around town– the sign of a greener and more sustainable future for
generations to come.


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