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West Fargo Public Schools has ND's first all electric school bus

School may be out for summer - but this fall, students attending classes in West Fargo may be hitching a ride to school on the district's brand new all electric school bus.

The new bus is not only a first for the West Fargo Public School District, but also the state of North Dakota. Brad Redmond is Director of Transportation with West Fargo Public Schools. He says each year, the district's fleet of school buses travel more than 750-thousand miles to and from athletic and academic events, as well as on all 62 of its routes. The budget for the fleet is $4 million annually, and new buses aren't cheap. Redmond says electric buses are more expensive than traditional buses, but over the next several years they will conduct a study to determine the new bus' efficiency and cost effectiveness. Julie Fedorchak from the North Dakota Public Service Commission attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to congratulate the district on the addition of the new bus.

"It's kind of packaged in an old fashioned looking thing, I mean - the school bus looks exactly the same as every school bus, so it's an interesting dichotomy there. But this is really the future, and North Dakota is right at the center of it."

Fedorchak says North Dakota may not be a state where motorists choose electric cars - but she says an electric school bus makes sense.

"Using electric vehicles allows us to capture one of our greatest export products, which is electricity. We generate way more than we need, it's one of our export products that we sell all over the is region, and allowing the conversion to electric vehicles allows us to capture that electricity and use  it right here in North Dakota."

The school district was able to partner with Cass County Electric Cooperative, Minnkota Power Cooperative, the Coalition for Secure Energy Future and the North Dakota Department of Commerce to purchase its all new, all electric school bus to add to its fleet.