Education

Troy School District drives toward the future with deal for electric bus fleet

The first buses — made at the new Lion Electric plant in Joliet — are expected to be delivered next school year

troy school district, buses, shorewood, plainfield, joliet

Troy Township, Will County — Troy School District 30-C has announced a major move to continue its green energy efforts by entering into a 10-year contract with Levo Mobility to fully electrify its Will County school bus fleet.

The district is partnering with Levo Mobility to convert its fleet of 64 to zero emissions in as few as five years, according to a news release. The district said the full deal would result in the largest fleet of electric school buses in the Midwest.

Superintendent Todd Koehl said the transition process should be complete within a decade.

“It’s a certainty that schools will transition to electric buses, and our district believes that as a sustainability champion in the community, it’s our responsibility to lead and act decisively to create the best possible learning environment for our students,” Koehl said in a statement. “The technology exists today to electrify school bus fleets. There’s no reason to wait.”

A district spokeswoman said the first two electric buses will be delivered during the 2022-23 school year.

An all electric school bus sits on display during a press conference and interactive tour of the Lion Electric vehicle manufacturing facility. Monday, Mar. 21, 2022, in Joliet.

As part of the deal, Levo will deliver a full suite of services to support the district’s electric fleet conversion including site planning, construction, installation of infrastructure and electric vehicle supply equipment.

The company also said it would support the district’s future procurement of electric buses to replace its existing diesel and gas units while maximizing available rebate and subsidy opportunities.

“Levo’s model was designed to support organizations like Troy 30-C that are forward-looking and committed to sustainability,” Maggie Clancy, Levo’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “Our turnkey electrification solution provides everything a school needs to electrify now and start enjoying the benefits of moving away from diesel buses.”

District officials said the electrification of its buses is yet another sign of efforts to utilize modern technology for its nearly 4,000 students.

Troy 30-C Board President Mark Griglione pointed to solar panels placed on the roofs of the district’s buildings. Those panels provide power to its local grid.

“The electrification of our transportation fleet is the next logical step for our district,” Griglione said in a statement. “We are proactive in bringing the future to our community today.”

In addition to the favorable deal for Troy 30-C, district officials said while they are leasing the buses through Levo, the buses are being purchased and built through Lion Electric Company, a Canadian-based electric vehicle manufacturer that is setting up its first U.S. plant in Joliet.

Lion Electric Co., Joliet, Will County, jobs, business

“Lion is very excited to work with local schools in the Will County area to electrify their operations, and we have seen a lot of interest in the region since announcing our factory in Joliet,” said Brian Alexander, a spokesman for Lion Electric.

Alexander added that local customers acquiring Lion’s American-made electric buses “supports the regional supply chain while bringing significant cost savings to school districts thanks to 60% reduced maintenance costs and 80% reduced energy costs.”

He added those savings will be especially important as fossil fuel costs continue to rise.