Skip to main content

Minnesota's first electric school bus could save thousands of dollars

It's a zero-emissions electric bus, the first of its kind in the state.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

When students at Lakeville schools return to classes this fall, the kids who ride the bus will have something to brag about.

That's because they'll be riding to and from school in the eLion – a zero-emission, fully electric school bus.

Great River Energy, Dakota Electric Association and Schmitty & Sons teamed up to buy the bus for the 2017-18 school year as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot program, Great River Energy says.

While it may look like a regular yellow school bus (which typically runs on diesel), the eLion is completely powered by wind energy, so it has no carbon footprint. Lion Electric Co., the company that makes the bus, says using one eLion is the equivalent of taking five cars off the road, or eliminating 23 tons of greenhouse gases.

How it works

The bus uses five rechargeable batteries that give it a 100-mile range. That may not sound like a lot, but it's enough – the American School Bus Council says the average school bus route is only 66 miles per day.

The bus takes 4-6 hours to charge, and it'll take advantage of Great River Energy's Revolt program – which makes sure wind accounts for all the power the bus needs.

And since the eLion is made in Canada, it's already been proven to work in a cold climate, Great River Energy said.

It could also save the school district a lot of money. That's because electric vehicles have less parts, requiring less maintenance. And electricity prices are less expensive per mile traveled. The Lion Electric Co. expects the eLion to save $12,000 compared to a regular bus.

The pilot program will test that by comparing the economic and emissions benefits of the eLion to a new diesel bus. The program also aims to demonstrate how electric buses perform in a cold weather climate and on suburban and rural bus routes.

And there's another pretty cool bonus: kids will be able to hear the electric bus coming because it'll be bumping some jams.

Like other electric vehicles, the bus is very quiet when it's running, so the eLion comes with a set of speakers that play loud music whenever the bus is going 20 mph or slower. The music is customizable for each bus as a fun, added feature.

Sounds almost as cool as this bus.

Next Up

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

kimmel morari screengrab collage

Watch: Jimmy Kimmel mocks men's sex aid made by MN company

"This is an app I won't be [down]loading," Kimmel said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 8.58.56 AM

Man hospitalized after snowmobile crash in Stearns County

The crash occurred east of State Highway 238 in Albany Township.

covid

Indicators of COVID in wastewater skyrocketing in Twin Cities

Wastewater detection can serve as a predictor for rising and falling case levels.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Girl arrested for allegedly shooting her mother in northern MN

The incident occurred in Morcom Township Sunday afternoon.

voyageurs trail camera

Video: Voyageurs camera captures remarkable footage of wildlife trail

There were wolves, moose, bears, lynx, a fisher, marten and other animals.

Related

Minnesota's first electric school bus could save thousands of dollars

It's a zero-emissions electric bus, the first of its kind in the state.

The fine for passing a school bus is going way up

Stop for the flashing lights or be prepared to shell out big time.

Warnings for motorists as Minnesota heads back to school

It's the first day back for the majority of state schools on Tuesday.

Minnesota is leading the way when it comes to clean fuel options

The state used a lot of clean energy options this year.

Minneapolis schools cancels activities, warns of bus delays

The icy roads haven't improved much from the morning commute.

Yes, you can get a DWI on an electric bike

A bicyclist on an electric bike ran into a pickup truck recently.

PSA: Don't 'block the box' – it makes downtown traffic even worse

Traffic has sucked this week, but Minneapolis says some drivers are making it worse.

PSA: Don't 'block the box' – it makes downtown traffic even worse

Traffic has sucked this week, but Minneapolis says some drivers are making it worse.