Electric buses join Fairfax County schools’ transportation fleet

Electric buses join Fairfax County schools

Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia is driving toward its goal of an entirely electric school bus fleet by 2035, with eight new buses and charging stations unveiled on Wednesday.

The school district is part of the Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force that has recommended the transition happen as quickly as possible “because traditional diesel buses are harmful to our environment and to our public health,” Fairfax County School Board Chair and Sully District Representative Stella Pekarsky said at the event.

“While the goal of electrification of our school bus fleet by 2035 is an ambitious one, our community and our children deserve to have schools and an environment that enhance their health and wellness,” Pekarsky said.

Electric buses cost about three times more than diesel buses, and Dominion Energy is helping cover that additional cost with funding for the buses and charging stations.

The charging stations will serve multiple purposes as noted by Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

“I want you to just be reminded that these charging stations behind me, when they’re not being charged, when the buses are not out running, when they come back, they will charge and put power back in the grid to supply the power grid,” Brabrand said.

Bill Stribrny is with Kajeet, Inc of McLean, which installed WiFi for student use in the eight new electric buses. (WTOP/Kristi King)

“So we’re going to use this not only to serve our students and families and transport kids back and forth, but also to support our power grid,” Brabrand said.

The eight electric buses, which are already operational, help to transport 140,000 eligible bus riders to and from school each day, according to a Fairfax County schools news release.

A grant from Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality will pay for 10 more electric buses that are expected to arrive in early spring 2022.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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