Technology

Connecticut's First 71-Seat Electric School Bus Hits The Road

NBC Universal, Inc.

ACES Transportation in North Haven is charging up Connecticut's first full-sized electric bus and getting it ready to hit the road. 

“Eventually down the road it will become something that's charged through solar panels, totally sustainable and even the charging we can sell back to the grid,” Tim Howes, deputy executive director of ACES, says.

Howes eventually wants to change over his entire fleet to electric vehicles.  

“It will be less on maintenance. You won’t spend the time filling it up. And we won’t have to inventory diesel fuel,” Howes says. 

ACES Transportation recently replaced their older diesel school bus with a 2021 Blue Bird electric-powered equivalent. 

“Emissions from the transportation sector constitute about 38% of our greenhouse gas or climate forming emissions,” Tracy Babbidge, a bureau chief at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, says. 

Babbidge says it will take much more than one electric school bus to lower emissions. 

“This past year we had 21 days where we exceeded the federal standard for ozone,” Babbidge says.  

The electric school bus was purchased with a grant from the state under the diesel emissions reduction act. 

“It’s not emitting anything no one wants to breathe in,” Howes says. “It’s nice and silent.”  

Cat Harrells has been driving a bus for 28 years, but this 71-seat electric bus is a whole new experience. 

“It’s really cool. It kind of sounds like a UFO at times because there’s no engine so you don’t hear the noises,” she says. 

“You can get up a hill like with a busload of children faster,” she added. 

It’s much different than a diesel school bus. 

“You put your foot on the gas and it just goes,” Harrells says. 

“It does only go up to 65 miles per hour. They put a cap on it there.”