US’s Largest Utility-Led Electric School Bus Initiative Hits Milestone

HIGH POINT, N.C. – On March 20, 2024, Dominion Energy, in partnership with Thomas Built Buses (TBB) and Sonny Merryman, celebrated surpassing 1.5 million electric miles driven by school buses in Virginia. This achievement marks a significant environmental benchmark for the Electric School Bus (ESB) Program initiated in September 2019. As the most extensive utility-led electric school bus project in the US, it boasts over 135 electric vehicles serving 25 districts, with Fairfax owning a notably large fleet.

Dominion Energy’s manager of customer energy solutions, Adam Birdsong, highlighted the dual benefit of the program, which reduces carbon emissions for both the company and its customers. The initiative has successfully addressed the challenges of adopting electric school buses by improving air quality, safeguarding children’s health, and enhancing grid resilience.

Whitney Kopanko of Sonny Merryman emphasized the importance of collective action and strong partnerships in transitioning from diesel to electric buses. Dominion Energy’s forward-thinking program extends beyond financial aid to include crucial support in training, utility engagement, and maintenance.

Virginia now ranks fifth nationally for its commitment to electric school buses, thanks in part to Dominion Energy’s program. Sonny Merryman aims to deliver a total of 224 Jouley units by the end of the 2023/24 school year, with state and federal funding propelling industry growth.

The program’s environmental contributions are significant, with Dominion-supported electric buses preventing emissions of 1,632 short tons of greenhouse gases, 2,520 pounds of carbon monoxide, and 4,342 pounds of nitrogen oxide, as per the AFLEET tool by the Department of Energy and Argonne National Lab. This translates to enhanced air quality and health benefits for students and drivers.

Mark Childers of Thomas Built Buses expressed pride in the program’s achievements and the collaborative efforts driving sustainable transportation for schools in Virginia. He looks forward to continued progress in the sector.

Dominion Energy leads the charge in electric school bus deployment, with plans to introduce vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology by summer 2024. This innovation allows bus batteries to supply the grid during peak demand, aiding in grid stabilization. The company also assists school districts with applications for the EPA Clean School Bus Program and intends to maintain this support.

For further details on Dominion’s Electric School Bus Program, visit Dominion Energy’s website, and for information on electric school bus conversion, visit Thomas Built’s Electric Bus Authority.

About Thomas Built Buses:

Since its inception in 1916, Thomas Built Buses has been a prominent school bus manufacturer in North America, dedicated to producing the most advanced buses. More information is available at their website or on Facebook. The company, based in High Point, North Carolina, is a branch of Daimler Truck North America LLC, which designs and markets various commercial transportation products and technologies.

About Dominion Energy:

Dominion Energy supplies electricity or natural gas to approximately 6 million customers across 15 states from its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. The company is focused on supplying dependable, affordable, and cleaner energy daily, with a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. More information can be found on the Dominion Energy website.