Lewis County Schools taking delivery of a GreenPower BEAST all-electric, purpose-built school...

Lewis County Schools taking delivery of a GreenPower BEAST all-electric, purpose-built school bus. In the photo are Dr. Robin Lewis, superintendent; Gerald Paugh, transportation supervisor; and GreenPower Motor Vice President Mark Nestlen.

Photo: GreenPower Motor Co.

GreenPower Motor Company has launched the fourth round of its electric school bus pilot project in West Virginia.

This time, the company is testing Type D BEAST and Type A Nano BEAST buses. The Type D buses will be deployed in Mineral, Lewis, and Harrison County school districts, while a Type A bus goes to Upshur County.

The testing is expected to evaluate bus performance on rural roads, in mountainous conditions, and in cooler temperatures. It’s also a chance to assess charging options by including systems provided by S&B USA eMobility and Francis Energy in Lewis and Upshur counties.

The company reports that the infrastructure uses a state-of-the-art Level 2 charger that “far exceeds the necessary charging rates for successful operations.” Similar charging rates are typically only available with DC fast-charge infrastructure. The chargers come packaged with operations management software that allows fleet operators to remotely inspect, troubleshoot, reset, and track both chargers and vehicles to ensure operational excellence and eliminate unnecessary downtime.

"GreenPower's BEAST and Nano BEAST continue to prove their capabilities in colder weather conditions and mountainous terrain and we look forward to launching Round 4 of our pilot project with Mineral, Lewis, Harrison and Upshur counties and gathering valuable data," said GreenPower CEO and Chairman Fraser Atkinson. "We're committed to continue bringing healthier transportation alternatives to the children and communities of West Virginia to help reshape how students travel to and from school."

Round 4 of the pilot program will focus on districts with mountainous roads and cooler conditions. The data collected from each of the pilot program rounds continue to prove an electric bus is just as capable as an ICE bus on the same roads in the same conditions. A GreenPower bus was recently approved for purchase by Kanawha County Public Schools which was a participant in the first round of the pilot program.

"We are excited to see the positive impressions the BEAST left on Kanawha County after the school district purchased the first electric school bus in the state following their participation in the pilot program," Atkinson said.

GreenPower will continue to support school districts transitioning to all-electric buses through installing the proper charging infrastructure and the necessary training for each county's first responders, mechanics, and school bus drivers.

Jodie Akers, director of transportation and student services for Upshur County Schools, said the district is excited to pilot the first electric school bus in the county.

“We know that zero-emissions buses provide a healthier and clean environment,” Akers said.

Originally posted on School Bus Fleet

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