On June 3, 2021, the Drive Electric Tennessee team witnessed a first for the state. The first all-electric school bus hit the road in Jonesborough, Tennessee. The Washington County School System, along with several local and state partners, celebrated this momentous occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and ride on the electric school bus for all attendees.
“With anything, being an early adopter is always a little bit risky and challenging, but I think in this case the team certainly focused including our Board, our county commission, our community partners and several others just had the right vision,” Jerry Boyd, Director of Washington County Schools, said.
The electric school bus was built by Lion Electric and funded in part by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation‘s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust‘s School Bus Replacement Grant program, the Tennessee Valley Authority and BrightRidge (the local power company in Washington County) – The bus features a prominent “100% Electric” at the top of the bus on both sides to let people know they are witnessing a fully electrified school bus in operation.
“The exciting thing is not only will [the children] get to ride an electric bus, but they will also get to learn about the electric bus,” Jeff Dykes, CEO of BrightRidge, said.
After the ceremony, all attendees were encouraged to experience a ride on the electric school bus. Unlike a traditional diesel school bus, the electric school bus makes almost no noise as it drives along. In fact, the bus is so quiet that, as a safety feature, Lion Electric has made it where the bus will play music when it is driving between 0-15 miles per hour to warn people that the bus is near.
While Drive Electric Tennessee celebrates the first electric school bus in Tennessee, we hope to see more Tennessee school bus fleets adopting this technology in the future!