Campus Transportation

Zum Debuts Electric School Buses in Two Calif. Districts

Modern student transportation solutions company Zum announced recently that it has deployed its first batch of electric school buses. The six LionC electric school buses, manufactured by Lion Electric, are already serving students in the San Francisco Unified School District and the Oakland Unified School District, according to a press release.

Zum has also secured grants for more than 35 EV buses to flesh out OUSD’s electric fleet. It expects to convert 50 percent of the district’s buses to electric models by the end of the 2022–23 academic year.

"This marks an important point in our journey to lead the student transportation industry toward a zero-emission future," said Ritu Narayan, Zum’s CEO and founder. "The U.S. school bus fleet is double the size of all other mass transit combined and is a major contributor to the nation's carbon emissions. Our aim to make Zum's entire fleet electric by 2025 is rooted in creating a safer, healthier and more sustainable planet for all."

The press release reports that out of about 500,000 U.S. school buses, about 90 percent run on diesel and emit about 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas per year. The LionC electric buses can travel as far as 125 miles on a single charge, reduce maintenance costs by 60 percent and reduce energy costs by up to 80 percent. Zum has also installed charging stations at each school that received an electric bus, and the company is working with the local community to flesh out a wider network of charging stations.

"We're proud to have a partner in Zum, who matches the district's commitment of making the environment and communities our students live in cleaner and healthier," said Kimberley Raney, OUSD’s Executive Director of Procurement, Transportation & Warehouse. "With the introduction of the first Zum electric school bus at OUSD and grants secured for over 35 additional electric buses, we are thrilled to begin our school transportation fleet's transition to electric and reach zero emission for half of our district transportation in the coming year."

The press release adds that the buses come equipped with Zum’s platform to provide drivers with route and navigation updates, help districts manage operations and give families full transparency and visibility. The cloud-based, multi-modal platform helps integrate district fleets to meet the needs of students, schools, districts, administrators and operators.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].