Your standard school bus is the big yellow unit belching diesel fumes and usually has a few hundred thousand kms on the odometer. Nothing sexy or new age about that. But a bus company in Huntsville has just taken delivery of a new Lion Electric Bus and it has already been hauling kids to school.

Dean Campbell is the owner of Campbell Bus Lines and he says the new addition to the fleet looks good so far, but like anything new, people are very much in a wait and see mode.

Campbells was one of 13 bus companies in the province to receive a fully funded bus to put through normal daily routines. The government is excited to push this initiative and get more battery powered units on the road.

That being said, one of the key reasons for a bus to be tested in an area like Huntsville is for what it offers from November to May. Bone chilling temperatures.

“They have been testing these in Quebec and it has gone well so far,” says Campbell. He says the expectation is that cold weather sees a reduction  in the range of the battery over typical summer tolerances.

 

The biggest difference for both the driver and the passenger is how quiet the bus is over a noisy diesel bus.

“The driver, the kids, they really love it,” enthuses Campbell.

That being said, because of the relative silence, Lion had to add a little something so kids waiting for a bus wouldn’t be surprised and step out in front of an arriving vehicle.

In terms of operating efficiencies Campbell says while the bus costs about three times a normal unit, the savings are large once you cut out the diesel bills.