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The Lion Electric Company is a leading supplier of


zero-emissions electric vehicles, including school buses, and is working with several school districts in California. Lion recently supplied two all-electric school buses in Fresno, California’s Central Unified School District earlier this year. Nate Baguio, Lion Electric’s VP of sales, said the company has deployed over 150 zero-emission school buses in North America to date and will continue to develop this market. The Quebec-based company recently opened the Lion


of new bus purchases, without considering alternative fuel and sustainable options, and have chosen to move forward with gasoline fuel for larger buses. For example, Duneland School Board in Chesterton,


Indiana, recently approved purchasing 11 buses for $916,952. The decision was to buy gasoline rather than diesel. The district said it found the gas-powered buses avoided the unusually high repair costs of diesel en- gines. The diesel systems require built-in after-treatment systems that must be installed to meet federal emission standards, which drive up costs. Gasoline buses, the dis- trict said, also perform better in the winter months, when they require less warm up and incur lower repair costs. The board balanced these benefits against the advanta- geous mileage-per-gallon that is achievable with diesel. However, Frost and Sullivan forecasted more battery


electric bus purchases. By 2025, it predicted that battery electric vehicles (BEV) will lead green purchase deci- sions of new school buses, followed by fuel cell electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This comes as Cummins Engine, Allison Transmission and Meritor are now developing electric drivetrains for school buses and other commercial vehicles.


Experience Center in Sacramento, California late last year, to help school districts and fleet operators learn about electric vehicle capabilities, plus charging consid- erations and available grants. While an all-electric bus often costs three times as


much as a new diesel bus, not to mention infrastruc- ture and battery storage costs, Frost and Sullivan said efficiency, plus low maintenance costs and clean tech- nology, will increasingly win out. While electric buses are easier and less costly to maintain, their payback is slow. And such factors have placed the purchase of elec- tric buses on hold for some districts. “We are not allowed to purchase any more diesel vehi- cles, per South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California,” said Neil Abramson, transportation director for California’s Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Twin Rivers Unified School District sees things differ-


ently. The Sacramento district owns electric buses that are manufactured by Lion Electric. District officials tout the lower maintenance and fuel costs, in addition to the environmental benefits, as driving the decision to pro- cure electric vehicles. “Electric buses have an upfront sticker shock, but over


a short period become economically smart,” said Di- rector of Transportation Timothy Shannon. “They have reduced fuel and lower maintenance costs. EV buses also


www.stnonline.com 47


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