New Global Push Back Against Electric Bus Mandate – NOT WORKING!

The federal government has a mandate that requires new school buses purchased to be zero emission by 2027 and all school buses in operation to be electric by 2035. One electric school bus costs upwards of 400,000 dollars, and up to 30,000 dollars more per bus for the needed infrastructure. Not to mention whether our electric grid has the necessary capacity. This mandate is a steep climb and it’s going to push our school districts and property taxpayers right off the cliff.

According to a new survey published by Consumer Reports, electric vehicles are nearly 80 percent less reliable than conventional vehicles.

In Canada, there is a lawsuit by the city of Edmonton, against a manufacturer of electric buses. The city is seeking 82 million dollars in damages from Proterra, the California-based company that sold the city electric buses, complaining of mechanical issues and promises of long driving ranges that never manifested. Edmonton says that the buses have never once achieved the operating range laid out in the contract, according to CTV News. The city claims it was blindsided after Edmonton purchased 60 battery operated buses.

Sadly, on Aug. 7, 2023, Proterra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a form of bankruptcy proceedings that allow the business to continue operating while it works with creditors. This is the same bus company that the Biden administration promoted, Proterra, and once virtually toured a facility. 

Bus electrification ambitions present a myriad of complexities. Inadequate energy infrastructure, capital funding, electric bus manufacturing challenges, high costs, limited range, public resistance, and an unrealistic 2027 deadline for zero emissions bus purchases pose significant obstacles.

The bus electrification goals are blind to the significant investment of taxpayer dollars and progress made by school districts that have switched to low emissions propane bus fleets.

In California’s vast northern rural school districts, with their mountain passes and long, snowy winters, the typical electric bus’ range is not nearly enough. California is pushing schools to get rid of their diesel buses and swap them for battery-powered ones. But this is not working in rural counties.

Global e-bus sales have increased by 32 percent last year, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Today, about 17 percent of the world’s buses are electric — 425,000 in total. But 99 percent of them are in China, where a national mandate promotes all sorts of electric vehicles. In the US, a few cities have bought a few electric buses, or at least run limited pilots, to test the concept out. California has even mandated that by 2029 all buses purchased by its mass transit agencies be zero-emission. 

During early tests in places like Belo Horizonte, Brazil, e-buses had trouble getting over steep hills with full passenger loads. Albuquerque, New Mexico, canceled a 15-bus deal with the Chinese manufacturer BYD after finding equipment problems during testing. (The city also sued). Today’s buses get around 225 miles per charge, depending on topography and weather conditions, which means they have to re-up about once a day on a shorter route in a dense city. That’s an issue in a lot of places. This doesn’t work for many school districts or cities. 

In colder climates globally, England has had major issues with keep the bus warm and condensation built up on the windows. The winter months highlight the shortcomings of electric transportation; including heating, lighting and traffic jams which drain the batteries and they struggle to cope and have been breaking down.

In Iowa City electric buses struggle with winter weather too. Anything below 20 degrees, especially when the temperatures are zero degrees or colder, the busses have between a 39 and 45 percent reduction in their capacity to hold energy.

Philadelphia purchased a fleet of Proterra buses in 2019 that had to be taken out of service in February of the following year due to defects, the local National Public Radio affiliate reported.

How is all this being funded? Your tax dollars! In 2021, the president pledged more than $10 billion from his 1.9 trillion dollars bipartisan infrastructure plan toward zero-emission transit and school bus programs. Unfortunately, a lot of these bad decisions are being made with other people’s money, taxpayers’ money. That’s your money!

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