HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – We first saw the new line of all-electric school buses back in August, when GreenPower Motor Company Inc. opened a facility in South Charleston.
This week, those buses will be hitting the roads. Cabell County is one of three counties chosen to participate in this pilot project.
Before their bus, named “The Beast”, starts down the road with children inside, school officials took it for a test ride.
13 News joined them for the inaugural trip around Huntington and in addition to the safety factors it provides, it’s also a fairly smooth ride.
While on the bus, we spoke with GreenPower CEO Fraser Atkinson about what makes this bus different than what’s currently being used.
“Diesel emissions and the particulate pattern and what they call PM2.5. It’s very very fine and it can find its way through the developing lungs of a child,” Atkinson says in regard to the children’s health.
According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, diesel emissions can affect “lung function growth in school children” and also cause “new-onset asthma.”
The study also says that there is “emerging evidence that (this could also) impact children’s nervous systems.”
These all-electric buses give off zero emissions and that fact is what Cabell County School officials say is one of many that attracted them to this project.
“It’s transporting our most precious cargo, our students. They have air conditioning, they have wifi access, it even has little sound chimes so that people can hear it coming or when it’s turning,” Cabell County Schools Superintendent Ryan Saxe says Tuesday afternoon.
Cabell County’s bus will be deployed from the Huntington Middle School Friday morning.
The school district along with Kanawha and Mercer Counties will have the buses for six weeks. After that, they will be sent to new counties to study different areas and seasons.
As a part of the pilot project, GreenPower will be studying the range, charging infrastructure needs, handling and maneuverability, operating and maintenance savings, student and parent acceptance, as well as other factors.