Skip to Content

Putnam Schools Accept Two Electric Buses; No Delivery Date Set

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Schools Accept Two Electric Buses; No Delivery Date Set

The Putnam County School Board officially accepted two electric buses Thursday night, the result of a $790,000 grant award from the EPA.

The delivery date remains unclear, but Cumberland International Bus Account Manager Ashley Scurlock said the system has already designed the two routes to be covered by the buses.

“The reliable range on a bus is 135 miles, the route we have selected for the bus is 30 miles in the morning and 30 miles in the afternoon, so it’s perfect,” Scurlock told the School Board. “And depending on the charger, determines how fast the vehicle charges. And normally when you pull a bus up to a charger after a 30 miles route, you’re not at zero. So that also goes into play.”

The system will also receive charging stations. Scurlock said the company will install temporary charging stations at the current school bus garage, with a more elaborate system set for the new Tennessee Avenue location.

The school system has no match and no expenses through the program. Scurlock said the EPA requires the buses be used for five years, but the company will warranty the buses for 15 years, the normal lifespan Putnam County uses for buses. She said the electric buses should dramatically decrease maintenance costs.

“You change an air filter once a year and you do a coolant flush every five years,” Scurlock said. “And the bus has three levels of regenerative braking, so the brake changes are also nonexistent.”

School board members asked multiple questions about the safety of the electric buses. Scurlock said the buses have been tested on multiple levels.

Transportation Director Ron Chaffin said the two routes to be served will offer some redundancy on routes that are busy, while at the same time protecting the system against technical issues.

“We’re going to relieve populations for bus stops where we have ten or more get on at one time, so that if anything was to happen mechanically, because this is being so new, we’ve got buses going through there anyway, so they’re going to be able to pick up and nobody late for school,” Chaffin said. “So that’s our top priority.”

The school system received the grant in October. Scurlock said the paperwork must be submitted to the EPA by April. As for the delivery date, Scurlock said that will depend, due to the number of buses covered by the $1 billion grant nationally.

“We’re very excited about this,” Chaffin said. “We think it’s going to be a great thing for Putnam County. The best thing about it, the $790,000, is there’s no match to it. It’s straight from from the EPA. It’s going to give us the opportunity, and I know that that’s the direction that that we’re going. And I feel like with a lot of research that we’ve done over the last couple of years, we’ve seen this coming.”


The post Putnam Schools Accept Two Electric Buses; No Delivery Date Set appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.