Loudoun Schools Put First Electric Buses in Service

Loudoun County Public Schools unveiled its first set of electric buses with a plugging-in ceremony at Park View High School Tuesday afternoon.

The school system’s first five electric school buses are part of a program led by Dominion Energy, which has partnered with Sonny Merryman and Thomas Built Buses for manufacturing, and Proterra to provide the batteries for the Jouley buses. Representatives from the school division and those four companies, as well as six students, were on hand for the ceremony.

The buses feature zero emissions, with one bus equivalent to removing 5.2 cars from the road each year; five-times cleaner air inside; a quieter cabin for better communication between bus drivers and students; and an operating range of 134 miles, which will “easily cover” a typical daily bus route, according to a statement from Dominion. The batteries get their power from 60kW plug-in DC charging stations and take two to three hours to reach capacity.

The school system is paying the same amount for each bus it has for diesel buses in the past, with Dominion offsetting the additional costs. Overall, the new electric buses are expected to be 60% less expensive to operate and maintain.

At the plugging-in ceremony this week, Sonny Merryman President and CEO Floyd Merryman said the technology has allowed the company to enter a new era.

“We look forward to delivering a lot more of these in the future,” he said.

Proterra Senior Director of Channel Sales Eric Reynolds said the buses are proven, safe and reliable, and noted that it won’t be long before the 500th and 5,000th electric buses are delivered.

Dominion Vice President of Innovation Policy & Implementation Dan Weekley said the buses are quieter and cleaner than their diesel ancestors, and urged students to use the three-point lap and shoulder seatbelts in the buses. He said Dominion has been focused on decarbonization for a several years and that its carbon avoidance program has equaled the planting of 150 acres of trees.

3 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools Put First Electric Buses in Service

  • 2021-05-05 at 1:05 pm

    Since they mention safety, do these buses make any noise? The rumble of the diesel engine has always been good for kids outside the bus to have a general awareness of where the vehicle is and when it moves.

    I’d like to know the cost of a replacement battery. It is hard to believe that overall maintenance will cost less, but time will tell when we see it in the annual bloated school budget.

  • 2021-05-05 at 4:38 pm

    More importantly, commercial vehicles are challenged when either an air conditioning or heat request is desired.

    In order for the vehicle to have enough battery to complete a normal work circuit, the heat and/or AC are turned OFF .

    I propose that the entire BOS ride this ridiculous bus, in July, on a normal school run to include a pick up run as well as a drop off .

    If they had done this BEOFRE buying the bus, we would not have an electric bus.

    Makes for a great photo op, but certainly is not practical.

  • 2021-05-05 at 5:03 pm

    EVERYTHING that the elected “leaders” in Loudoun do or touch is a photo-op. All done on the taxpayers’ dime.

    Anybody bother to find out about the availability of electric drivetrain parts for repairs?

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