Go For Green: First Electric School Bus Fleet Rolled Out to Support FCPS Carbon Neutral Goal

News
October 20, 2021

Fairfax County Public Schools officially launched its first fleet of electric school buses as part of a commitment to providing carbon neutral student transportation by 2035.

Charging an electric school bus.The eight new buses and charging stations were on display at the division’s Stonecroft Transportation Center in Chantilly.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand was joined by school board members at the event held to herald  a new dawn of green school bus vehicles in Fairfax County. Speaking ahead of the event, Dr. Brabrand said, “Having electric school buses in our fleet is consistent with the Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force’s goal to become carbon neutral.

“This is a great step forward for FCPS and underscores our commitment to being an environmentally responsible community.”

The eight electric buses, which are already operational, help to transport 140,000 eligible bus riders to and from school each day. 

FCPS is part of the Fairfax County Joint Environmental Task Force (JET), which was formed to address climate change and environmental sustainability proactively and collaboratively in Fairfax County. The JET is composed of representatives from both the Board of Supervisors and the School Board, and community partners from higher education, industry, and community and student advocacy groups. One of the JET’s goals is for FCPS to transition to electric or zero-carbon alternatives for school buses and eligible fleet vehicles by 2035.  

“FCPS takes pride in the safe transportation of students to and from school. And, another way we can protect our students is through the eventual conversion of our school bus fleet to all-electric,” said Jeff Platenberg, FCPS assistant superintendent for Facilities and Transportation Services. “Electric school buses protect students’ health and their environment with zero emissions,” he added. 

FCPS was chosen to receive the buses in a competitive process after applying for a grant from Dominion Energy in fall 2019. Dominion Energy covers the difference in cost so that school districts pay no more for electric buses than they would for diesel models. The required charging infrastructure has been installed and is maintained by Dominion at the Stonecroft Transportation Center.

The buses were delivered by Sonny Merryman in January and began transporting students in May.

FCPS applied for and received another grant from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for an additional 10 electric buses and should receive them in early spring 2022.

Fairfax County School Board Chair and Sully District Representative, Stella Pekarsky said, “While the goal of electrification of our school bus fleet by 2035 is an ambitious one, our community and our students deserve to have schools and an environment that enhance their health and wellness. The School Board is committed to providing FCPS with energy and resource stewardship to meet the urgent challenges of climate change.”

For more information, contact the Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200

If you require additional footage of an FCPS electric bus, please feel free to use the following clip, courtesy of Dominion Energy: https://vimeo.com/629355245