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GRE collaborates to bring first all-electric school bus to MN

Electric bus visits ECE

ECE’s wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, (GRE) has partnered with Schmitty & Sons, a transportation company in Lakeville, and Dakota Electric Association, a co-op in Farmington, to put the Midwest’s first all-electric school bus into service. It is currently transporting students in the Lakeville School District.

The 72-passenger eLion bus, manufactured in Canada, is powered 100 percent by electricity. Its five batteries give it a range of up to 100 miles per charge. The average daily route of school buses in the United States is 66 miles. It will be recharged at night, when the demand and cost for electricity are lower.

The pilot program is designed to study the economic and emissions benefits the bus provides, demonstrate battery electric technology in cold weather and exhibit its performance on suburban and rural routes. An electric school bus costs three times more than a diesel bus, but operation and maintenance costs are expected to be approximately $12,000 less per year.

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