First 4 of 41 Electric School Buses Delivered in West Virginia

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Electric vehicles can be quite useful as delivery vans and buses because they are energy efficient, and fleet vehicles in many situations don’t need to travel great distances. Electricity is obviously less costly than gasoline or diesel fuel as well.

Much of the news about EVs covers personal transportation, and it is frequently overly negative. Too often the “good news” stories about electric vehicle successes are overlooked. In this case, the good news is the delivery of purpose-built all-electric school buses in West Virginia.

The GreenPower Type A all-electric Nano BEAST (left) and Nano BEAST Access (right) being delivered to West Virginia school districts this week are the first of GreenPower’s purpose-built EV school buses manufactured at its South Charleston, West Virginia plant.

One of the privileges of creating positive EV news stories is doing interviews because they give credit to the people who are doing the work of making the world more sustainable. Today, Mark Nestlen, VP of Business Development and Strategy for GreenPower, the buses’ manufacturer, answered some questions about them for CleanTechnica.

For the first four all-electric buses what is the seating capacity?

The first four buses off the production line delivered to West Virginia school districts are the Nano BEAST and Nano BEAST Access. The Nano BEAST is a Type A all-electric, purpose-built, zero-emission school bus with seating for up to 24 students. The Nano BEAST Access option has seating for up to 18 ambulatory passengers and up to 3+ Q’STRAINT wheelchair securements, complemented with a BraunAbility rear curbside lift.

What is the motor size, battery size and battery chemistry? 

Both the Nano BEAST and Nano BEAST Access have 118 kWh battery capacity, with a range up to 140 miles. The electric school bus motor power is 150 kW. The battery chemistry is LiFePo4.

What is the cost of each? 

The Nano BEAST and Nano BEAST Access all-electric school buses that were delivered this week, were purchased by the state of West Virginia as part of the economic partnership which caused GreenPower to locate its East Coast manufacturing facility in West Virginia. The total purchase was $15 million for the four Nano BEASTs and 37 BEAST school buses.

What is the charging rate?

The Nano BEAST is equipped with dual AC/DC charging, Level 2 (J1772, 19.2 kW AC ~8 hrs), DCFC (CCS-1, 60 kW ~2hrs), Wireless DC option (60 kW ~2hrs).

What is the warranty? 

Structure and body integrity against corrosion — 5 years

High-voltage battery system — 5 years/150,000 miles

Chassis structure — 3 years/250,000 miles

Drivetrain — 3 years/150,000 miles

Basic body structure — 3 years

Body and window frames against leakage — 2 years

Wheelchair lift system — 2 years

HVAC system — one year

Exterior paint — one year

Complete bus — one year

Where will the buses charge?

The buses will charge at each county’s bus and/or transportation garage.

How long does it take to manufacture each bus? 

The full production time from order to completed manufacturing of a Nano BEAST takes about 4 to 5 months.

What is the range of each one?

The Nano Beast and Nano BEAST Access have a range up to 140 miles. With opportunity charging during the school day the Nano BEAST can travel in excess of 140 miles. GreenPower recently announced its newest electric bus to its lineup, the Mega BEAST, which has the longest range on the market today at 300 miles on a single charge.

How long will it take to manufacture the rest of the buses to fulfill the order?

The 37 BEASTs purchased by the state will be delivered in 2024.

What are some key advantages of using electric buses rather than gas or diesel buses?

The use of electric school buses improves air quality which is beneficial to the environment as well as the health of students. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to NOx exhaust can trigger health problems like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. The primary source of NOx is motor vehicles — including school buses. Diesel exhaust is designated “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 

The school bus industry is the largest form of transportation in the country with more than 26 million students who take 480,000 buses to and from school every day – this is not counting the after-school activities that also use these buses. Transitioning the school bus fleet to zero-emission, all-electric school buses will have a large impact on improving health for children and their communities, while expediting the broader transition to electric vehicles. This is a crucial step in further preventing the impacts of climate change. 

How many employees does GreenPower have?

Currently 43 people are employed at the WV facility. The company will hire an additional 60 employees or so in the beginning of 2024 as production of the BEAST ramps up. GreenPower is on track to have 200 employees in the WV facility by the end of 2024.


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