Vermont to Launch Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and VEIC have launched an electric school and transit bus pilot program for Vermont, funded by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT). The pilot will evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of electric school and transit bus operation in the state over a two-year period, officials announced.

Vermont is prioritizing the expenditure of its EMT funds to advance electric vehicle use. The pilot aims to engage partners across the state, and maximize the use of available EMT funds in an effective way, while also meeting specific criteria and priorities, officials said.

The Criteria and Priorities Include

  • Testing and evaluating the viability of electric buses in Vermont as replacements for diesel-powered buses, across a range of route conditions, geographical areas and types of weather.
  • Maximizing air quality benefits by considering the age and miles traveled by the buses that are replaced, plus areas that are disproportionately impacted by air contaminants in Vermont.
  • Exposing as many residents from different communities, demographic profiles and geographic regions as possible, to electric bus technologies.

Improving Air Quality

“We are excited to be putting the Volkswagen Settlement funds to use for Vermonters,” said Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “We aim to create positive change in communities across Vermont, by improving air quality, reducing harmful emissions, and making electric bus technology accessible to more people.”

VEIC was selected by DEC to administer the pilot program. VEIC has successfully designed, implemented, and evaluated many electric school and transit bus programs in New England. VEIC specializes in electric vehicle deployment across cold-weather, rural areas.

Three Phases of the Pilot Program

The pilot will roll out in three phases, beginning with the selection of at least two schools and one transit agency to participate in deploying electric buses in their communities. Following a careful planning process to establish travel routes, choose vehicle models, and acquire the necessary charging infrastructure, the buses and equipment will be tracked and evaluated for a full year.

Throughout that year of operation, VEIC will provide technical assistance to the participating schools and transit providers, while evaluating and reporting on the performance of the vehicles. To ensure school districts are aware of the program and have support to apply, VEIC is partnering with the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) to leverage its extensive experience engaging with Vermont’s school systems for nearly 40 years.

“We are thrilled to be working with the State and partnering with VEEP to implement this electric bus pilot program in Vermont,” said Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, director of Transportation Efficiency at VEIC. “Dedicating Volkswagen Settlement funds to advancing electric vehicle use, particularly for public transit and school transportation, is the best option for our communities and our environment. We commend Vermont for making this choice, and taking steps to deploy these vehicles in a smart and effective way.”

VEIC will release a request for qualifications in the coming weeks to collect information from interested, prospective schools and transit agencies. Pilot information will be posted at https://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/vw. Interested school or transit agencies can also contact VEIC Consultant Stephanie Morse to learn more: smorse@veic.org

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources handles oversight and management of Vermont’s natural environment. VANR draws from and builds on Vermonter’s shared ethic of responsibility for the natural environment, an ethic that encompasses a sense of place, community and quality of life. anr.vermont.gov

VEIC

VEIC is a sustainable energy company with a mission to enhance the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of clean and efficient energy use. Headquartered in Vermont, with offices in Ohio, Washington, D.C., and New York state, VEIC has over 32 years of experience transforming energy systems, specializing in energy efficiency, clean transportation and renewable energy. In addition to its full-service consulting business, VEIC operates three large-scale energy efficiency utilities: Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Smart and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). VEIC also launched three mission-aligned subsidiaries that promote community-level solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. www.veic.org