North Dakota pioneers gather to show support for West Fargo Public Schools new electric school bus
We are proud to partner with Minnkota Power Cooperative, Secure Energy Future, and the West Fargo Public Schools on bringing the first all-electric school bus to the state of North Dakota. Additional funding for this project was provided by a grant from a North Dakota State Energy Program. In November 2018, the West Fargo School Board awarded a bid to Hartley’s School Buses, Inc. for the purchase of one Blue Bird Corp. all-electric school bus for a net amount of $314,200.
West Fargo Public Schools owns the all-electric bus. While the new electric bus has a higher upfront
cost, it is expected to be more cost effective than a traditional bus throughout its lifetime. Based on early numbers the electric school bus costs 9 cents per a mile, while the typical diesel costs between 40-44 cents a mile. West Fargo Public Schools anticipates an annual savings of $2,500 in diesel costs and $1,800 in maintenance costs with the purchase of the electric bus.
“The all-electric bus will be powered by North Dakota’s homegrown energy. This project will have a positive impact on many Cass County Electric members; from the cost savings
for the school district itself to the hundreds of members who live within the school district,” said Chad Brousseau Cass County Electric’s manager of energy services.
“We believe others around the region will see the success of this project, and it will start a conversation in our local communities,” said Ben Fladhammer, Minnkota communications manager. “Someone needed to take the first step, and we’re grateful that West Fargo did that.”
Whether it’s electric cars or electric buses with any new technology, there is an adoption period. People have to see the bus, ride the bus, and ultimately hear how quiet the bus is while it’s running. Cass County Electric member John Bagu and his daughter Mira – who may be an electric school bus passenger when she begins third grade next fall – were able to see and experience the bus first hand. They were wowed by how quiet and clean the ride was. “It was very much like our electric car, which is an incredible statement, because our car is so small and this is so big.,” John said. “The fact that you can take the same technology and put it on a 70-seat bus is incredible.”
“It’s also going to be educational for the students that ride on this bus. They are going to be the first students in the state to ride on an all-electric school bus,” says WFPS Director of Transportation Brad Redmond. If you are interested in learning more about the electric bus, it will be featured at a variety of community events including a North Dakota legislative event at the State Capital in Bismarck, ND, and the Cass County Electric Cooperative’s EV Drive Night event.
“Cass County Electric has numerous core values, but one of those is innovation. At Cass County Electric, one of the things we strive to do as a company is to be a leader in innovation. Over the years, we’ve done that.”President/ CEO Marshal Albright