Electric school buses coming soon to Wauconda, Barrington school districts

Lion Electric Company to build electric school buses in facility near Joliet

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Electric school buses coming soon to Chicago area school districts
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Wauconda School District 118 has ordered two electric school buses and Barrington's school district has ordered one as well.

BARRINGTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Filling up the gas tank of the school bus is an expensive proposition these days, but eventually it might be a thing of the past at some school districts. That's because electric buses are on the way.

The Wauconda school district has ordered two electric buses that should be delivered soon in the Wauconda school district.

"With two buses we'll have a good opportunity to try this out and see the success," District 118 Supt. David Wilm said.

The Lion Electric Company has opened a manufacturing facility near Joliet to build electric school buses.

They will be capable of going more than 100 to 150 miles without having to recharge the battery, which takes about eight hours to charge. But perhaps most importantly, it will mean carbon exhaust fumes will be a thing of the past.

"It means jobs and beautiful buses, but it's also part of a genuine effort to move this planet to a much better place than it is today," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

The federal government is also offering a billion dollars in grants as incentives for schools to buy these buses.

Barrington's school district is putting up a charging station for the bus they have ordered. It's about three times the cost of a standard diesel bus, but with the grant money they received, it ended up about the same.

"We want to see how it works for us," said John Sander, general manager at Barrington Transportation. "Put it through our paces here."

New buses last an average of 10 years in this district. They expect the first electric bus in mid-November. Assuming things go well, they plan to order more in the near future.