The Badger State is now home to the nation’s largest fleet of plug-in hybrid electric school buses. Eva Robelia with the state Office of Energy Independence says the buses in southeast Wisconsin run on sunshine. “These vehicles are fuel-efficient, they have lower emissions, they can go twice as far on a tank (of fuel) compared to a standard school bus.”
Wisconsin is acquiring a total of 24 plug-in hybrid school buses. Oconomowoc Transport Company is unveiling the first 11 buses just in time for the first week of school. Robelia says the new fuel efficient busses are lower maintenance and they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 40 percent. She says the vehicles can go twice as far on a tank of fuel compared to a standard school bus, saving a lot of money. “They predict around a 7,500 gallon savings annually.” At almost $3.00 a gallon for diesel, that’s $22,500 a year saved.
The purchase of the hybrid electric buses and the solar recharging stations was funded in part by $3.6 million from the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program (WCTP), via the federal Recovery Act.
NOTE: Oconomowoc Transport Company is scheduled to unveil their eleven buses and solar recharging station at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today (Wednesday). Plus, showing momentum in the plug-in hybrid field, Riteway Bus Service has a ground-breaking ceremony in the afternoon, where a similar solar recharging station and fleet of 13 plug-in hybrid schools buses will call home in the near future.