Inside INdiana Business

First Indiana all-electric bus debuts in Carmel

CARMEL, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A zero-emissions bus is part of an initiative from Carmel Clay Schools to move to a greener fleet of alternative fuel buses. The school system says the Blue Bird-built and Cummins PowerDrive system-powered bus will reduce emissions and be safer for students. 

“Carmel Clay Schools has been pursuing alternatively-fueled school buses for several years, and we see this as another step in expanding our efforts by introducing this zero-emission electric school bus into our fleet,” said Ron Farrand, director of facilities and transportation for Carmel Clay Schools. “We believe it is important as a pilot project to show how this type of bus will perform and to further reduce NOx and other emissions in our school district.”

The new bus was purchased using the Carmel Clay School Bus Replacement Fund with assistance from the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, which is administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. South Shore Clean Cities developed the grant application and is project manager of the electric school bus initiative. The nonprofit worked with school officials to educate them on the buses, including best charging practices, range and reliability. Data collected from the project will be used as an example to help other school districts. 

Two charging stations have been installed by the school district, with one placed in the east side lot and another at the bus garage. 

“It’s always exciting to be part of the introduction of the first electric-powered school bus in a state,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “This one bus is bound to lead to more positive changes and we are looking forward to seeing the positive environmental impacts this bus will have, as well as the maintenance and fuel cost savings the district will experience.”

Carmel Clay currently has 24 buses in its fleet powered by propane autogas, with plans to add more alternatively-fueled buses in the future.