BEVERLY - More school districts are making the shift to electric buses this year, but Beverly is taking going green one step further.
The city started adding electric school buses during the pandemic. They're also the first school district in the Northeast to start sending energy from their electric buses back to the power grid. They're one of few across the country to do this.
"These buses have what's called V-to-G, vehicle to grid service and what that means, say at night, when the buses aren't being used, they can download the fully charged battery back to the grid, so the grid can sell power back to the customers," Beverly School Transportation Director Dana Cruikshank told WBZ-TV.
That provides essential back-up power, which comes in handy especially during extreme heat. It also helps to lower the cost of what would be an expensive change.
"You're able to get some cost reductions by the vehicle making money back from the grid through grants," said Cruikshank.
The grants have helped the district cover more costs and the maintenance of the electric buses. Cruikshank says they're tried to get it down to the cost of a regular diesel bus.
"It's close," he said.
With five electric buses, the school has also shifted to hybrids.
"We actually hybrid-ed ten of our buses because we weren't quite ready for electric for those, and those get better gas mileage, more horsepower and are a lot more efficient on the fuel use they have," Cruikshank told WBZ.
With 30 school buses on the road each day in Beverly, Superintendent Suzanne Charochak said reducing their overall carbon footprint is worth it.
"We have to make decisions if we're going to make a positive change," Charochak told WBZ.
She and Cruikshank believe those decisions have a positive impact on students.
Cruikshank said elementary school kids called the first electric bus, "the magic bus."
"Habits are developed really early in life, so we want to make sure that we're emphasizing we have to protect the earth," Charochak told WBZ.
Beverly's goal is to eventually have their bus fleet completely electric. In the spring the White House announced a $400 million grant program to fund clean school buses to reduce emissions and protect children's health, making this change more possible and affordable for schools.
For more information on Beverly's school buses, visit their website.
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