North American school bus transportation provider First Student announces the winning of grants in California, Rhode Island, Missouri, Illinois, Oregon, and Montana to expand school bus electrification.

In May 2021, First Student announced the largest zero-emission school bus order in North America of 260 buses. In Aprils 2021 it was announced that First Student, as its sister company First Transit, both belonging to FirstGroup, was to be taken over by EQT Infrastructure for USD 4.6 billion. Still on the topic of school bus electrification, Boston plans to switch all its vehicles to electricity by 2030. It is no mystery that Biden Administration is accelerating on this.

First Student on a path to expand school bus electrification

First Student says the company has “partnered with customers to write, complete, and win grant applications securing funding to introduce electric school buses into their fleets. Funding sources come from various sources, including federal, state, and local initiatives. Regional utility providers are also providing capital for charging infrastructure to supplement the costs for local school districts”.

In helping school districts move to electrification, the cost savings of bus maintenance, fuel and operation can be pushed back to the classroom. Replacing a diesel school bus with an electric one will eliminate as much as 14-16 tons of greenhouse gas annually, the equivalent of filling 500,000 birthday balloons, First Student calculates.

“We are proud to partner with school districts to win grant applications and provide turnkey solutions for school bus electrification,” said Kevin L. Matthews, First Student’s Head of Electrification. “As the leader in school bus transportation, First Student is committed to leading the way in school bus electrification.”

First Student electric school buses: a major contract

In early 2019, Keolis Canada ordered 12 electric school buses Type C from Lion Electric. It was released that, according to a survey, 92% of Quebeckers want school boards and schools to increase their use of electric buses. A few weeks before that, New York State had launched an electric school bus test fleet thanks to five LionC units.

Lion Electric has also announced that it has selected Joliet, in Illinois, for the construction of its U.S. manufacturing facility. The Canadian company is also building a battery plant in its home country.


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