Chesterfield Leaders Gather to ‘Plug-in’ New Electric School Buses During Thursday Ceremony

New electric school buses will hit the road to transport students this fall.

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — Chesterfield County’s fleet of school buses is getting a jolt.

Chesterfield County Government and Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) joined Dominion Energy and Virginia’s exclusive Thomas Built Buses dealer Sonny Merryman during a ‘plug-in’ ceremony Thursday morning.

This is the first time CCPS will be adding electric school buses to its fleet of over 630 buses.

Both Dominion Energy and Sonny Merryman delivered the two Thomas Jouley electric school buses to Chesterfield in May – making it the first school district in metro Richmond to receive electric school buses.

Chesterfield County Government and CCPS collaborated on an application to receive the electric school buses through Dominion Energy’s Electric School Bus Program. Under the program, which aims to help school districts electrify their bus fleets, school districts pay no more for an electric school bus than they would for a traditional diesel model. The program also covers the installation of the related Proterra charging infrastructure.

The Thomas Jouley buses are emissions-free at the tailpipe, noise pollution free and fossil fuel free – making them some of the most environmentally efficient buses in the nation.

Replacing one diesel bus with an electric bus is the equivalent of removing roughly five cars from the road. Additionally, an electric bus reduces operation and maintenance costs for schools by 60 percent as compared to a diesel model. Each bus can seat up to 77 students and travel approximately 135 miles on a three-hour charge.

Aside from reducing maintenance costs and emissions, the new buses’ batteries will be able to store and inject electric energy into the local power grid during periods of high demand when the buses are not needed for student transportation.

The electric school buses in Chesterfield County are part of the 50 Thomas Jouley buses delivered by Sonny Merryman – Virginia’s Bus Company – during the 2020-21 school year through the Dominion Energy Electric School Bus Program.

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a request in November 2020 by the fleet services division to have the electric charging stations installed at its bus maintenance facility on Walmsley Boulevard, where the buses will be housed.

Chesterfield County Public Schools is the fifth-largest school system in Virginia, educating more than 60,000 students. Chesterfield County school buses travel more than 9 million miles annually as they transport students to and from school and deliver them to field trip destinations and athletic events.

Here is the link to the ceremony video:

Story originally published by Chesterfield County.