Cedar Rapids, IA (August 10, 2023) – The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) is pleased to announce the arrival of the district’s first all-electric school buses just in time for the start of the 2023-2024 school year. These are the district’s first two all-electric buses and were purchased with the support of Alliant Energy and the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) under the Iowa Volkswagen State Environmental Mitigation Trust Program*.

Electric school bus adoption continues to grow in the United States. California leads the electric school bus adoption with 560 currently in use. The CRCSD’s buses will be the first all-electric school buses to operate in the state of Iowa, following the Nevada and Sigourney school district’s electric-diesel hybrid buses acquired in 2008.

“Alliant Energy is proud to partner with the Cedar Rapids Community School District bringing the many benefits of electric school buses to the community,” said Emily Kaiser, Senior Key Account Manager, Alliant Energy. “A cleaner environment, reduced maintenance costs, and the ability to explore the benefits of vehicle-to-grid technology are all opportunities that serve our customers and help to build stronger communities.”

On the outside, these electric buses don’t look much different than a regular school bus, except for a green bird emblem with an electrical plug adorning their sides. It’s under the hood where the differences really become apparent. The buses contain an all-electric drivetrain with 155kW batteries. When fully charged, each bus has a range of up to 120 miles and the capacity to transport up to 60 students. When they need to be charged, the district has two new Nuvve 60kW fast charging stations that can fully charge the buses in 2 hours. The buses and Nuvve chargers also have vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities enabling the district to provide stored electricity back to the grid during periods of high demand when the buses are not in use.

The electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions reducing exposure to pollutants and toxins, meaning cleaner air for our students, drivers, and communities. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost half when compared to their diesel counterpart. Replacing just one diesel bus with an electric bus is equivalent to removing five cars from the roadways. The electric drivetrain is also very quiet compared to traditional buses, making them a quieter and safer ride for our students and bus staff. Over their lifetime, they will help reduce the need for fossil fuels and significantly reduce maintenance costs, promising substantial cost savings for the district.

“I firmly believe that education goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. It extends to the very core of our values and the examples we set for our students. By embracing this new technology, our students will be able to learn firsthand about renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and the importance of making eco-conscious decisions,” commented Dr. Tawana Grover, CRCSD Superintendent.

Currently, Cedar Rapids Community School District transports over 5,000 students each school year.

Click here to see photos from the event.

*Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iowa DOT.