PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – All-electric school buses are making their way into Mercer County.
After the GreenPower Motor Company, specializing in electric school bus manufacturing opened its doors in South Charleston, the opportunity became available.
Through the GreenPower Pilot Program, the Mercer County School District is one of the first to use the buses in the state. A press conference was held at the Mercer County Technical Education Center upon their arrival.
“I’m excited to be the first to have it and try it, I’m excited to be on the bus tomorrow, ride it with the kids. It’s a beautiful quiet ride, you know, it’s so quiet with it being electric,” Superintendent for Mercer County Schools, Ed Toman says.
Elected and Mercer County School Board officials, along with representatives from GreenPower Motor all came out to welcome the new buses.
It was the first day of testing them before they take to the streets. Data will be collected on the functioning of the buses during a six-week trial period.
The buses are powered by electricity from West Virginia coal. Many of the supporters of House Bill 4571—the legislation that set the program into motion—were happy to see it coming to fruition.
“I think the initial benefit is to all of West Virginia because we’re going to be testing out a product that is built here and to see if it fits the needs here in the state, so I think that’s really important,” Mercer County Delegate Marty Gearheart says. “We got a product being built that utilizes energy source that we have in abundance.”
These all-electric buses will not only save on energy but enhance the safety and air quality of the students and the community.
“I could not be any more confident in the safety, and the performance and the ability of this vehicle,” says Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for GreenPower Motor, Mark Nestlen. “People are always fearful of change and there’s anxiety that comes with it, but this vehicle is going to show people and these pilots what it can do.”
The electric bus will make its first run tomorrow morning, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. It will go to Princeton Primary, Mercer Elementary, Princeton Middle, and Princeton Senior High School that day.
At the end of the six-week trial period for Mercer County and the other two schools, the electric buses are being tested at, they will go on to three more schools in the state for further testing.