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Dept. of Transportation Giving $1.7 Billion to States to Buy Electric, Low-Emission Buses

Dept. of Transportation Giving $1.7 Billion to States to Buy Electric, Low-Emission Buses

Why though?

Imagine how many people $1.7 billion could feed.

But no. It must go to the Biden administration’s pipe dream (pun intended) of forcing electric and low-emission transportation on everyone.

The latest money grab will give 46 states and territories $1.7 billion to invest in electric and low-emission buses:

The grants will enable transit agencies and state and local governments to buy 1,700 U.S.-built buses, nearly half of which will have zero carbon emissions. Funding for the grants comes from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden. The Democratic president has made it a priority to put more electric vehicles on the road — especially for schools and public transit — in an effort to contain the damage from climate change.

“Every day, millions of Americans climb aboard over 60,000 buses to get to work, to school, doctor’s appointments, everywhere they need to be,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a call with reporters. “These are unprecedented levels of investment when it comes to putting modern cleaner buses on the road.”

Seattle gets $33.5 million. Washington, D.C., gets $104 million. Money will also flow to Iowa City and the Seneca Nation in Western New York.

“Importantly, this funding also invested more than 1,700 American-built buses that would be manufactured in America factories with American workers. That means that as we are building these clean buses with cars that are made in America, we’re creating good paying jobs along the way,” claimed Mitch Landrieu, the Senior Advisor to the president and White House Infrastructure Coordinator. “The grants even put money into training and workforce that will operate and maintain these buses. There are millions of dollars set aside for workforce programs, the people servicing diesel buses need the skills to work on clean buses. We can’t leave them behind as we make this transition, and we can’t run our transit systems or keep the buses running on time and safely without the workers.”

The Biden administration has already handed out $3.3 billion in these projects. They’ll probably give $5 billion MORE within the next three years.

In April, Michigan’s Ann Arbor Public School District said its electric school buses hardly work after spending millions on them:

During an April 19 presentation to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education, the district’s environmental sustainability director, Emile Lauzzana, highlighted a number of issues with the district’s electric bus fleet. Those buses, Lauzzana said, have “a lot of downtime and performance issues” and aren’t “fully on the road,” despite the fact that they are “approximately five times more expensive than regular buses.” The infrastructure upgrades required to use the buses, meanwhile, were “originally estimated to be only about $50,000” but “ended up being more like $200,000,” according to Lauzzana. “I have a number of colleagues in different states who are facing similar challenges,” the district official lamented. “For the school bus market, it’s been challenging for us.”


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2smartforlibs | June 26, 2023 at 11:05 am

Never thinking past the knee jerk they pat themselves on the back.

Second Try Might work…tried it in 1973

Almost half a century ago, Lansing became the first city in the nation to test a fleet of electric buses.

The city had been picked to receive funding from the Nixon administration’s Model Cities Program, an attempt to revitalize Lyndon B. John’s initiative of the same name combatting urban poverty.

The state transportation department, the Model Cities Policy Board and the Board of Water & Light decided to spend the money on six battery-powered buses. They gave the Capital Area Transportation Authority responsibility for operating and maintaining the vehicles.

The buses, which rolled out in May 1973, were popular for the first two weeks thanks to free promotional rides. The routes were centered downtown, looping around the State Capitol and down other major streets in the area.

Off the top of my head I can see a few problems. Cold weather is likely to render them nearly useless. Batteries don’t like the cold plus you gotta spend some of the charge to keep them warm then you gotta spend more charge to run the heater so the kids don’t freeze. All of that in winter in say NY or MI or wherever presents a challenge.

Then there’s distance factors. Is some rural town gonna be able to use these things? How does Hickory get to the state championship game location if the bus has a mileage limitation v an ICE bus? They gonna need to take a whole week off to make it there and back to allow for sufficient charging time along the way? Other field trips and sporting events, band competition? These may work in an urban environment but not outside a large metro and even then they will have more issues than ICE bus.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to CommoChief. | June 26, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    Toss in, in addition to your points and the risk to the kids since electric vehicles catch fire; the calendar mayhem and the ensuing extra costs to the teachers unions. By law [and incidentally as a condition of Federal grants] a school has to be open ‘x’ number of days a year to be accredited. Ok, consider the upper mid-west where winter can be and frequently is a [insert string of multi-lingual, incredibly crude and obscene expletives]. So the Mattel battery powered buses don’t work and school has to be closed for those days. After not too many days like that the school year has to be extended into the summer which interferes with family plans [which neither the school districts nor teachers care about] and it means that teachers and admin types get their summer long vacations interfered with and you can bet that the teachers unions are going to scream for a horrendous amount of premium pay, which means the admin types will be demanding tax increases on the proles.

    Happy, happy, joy, joy.

    Subotai Bahadur

      not_a_lawyer in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | June 26, 2023 at 5:40 pm

      I have seen a video taken from the rear of an electric bus. At the beginning everything is fine. Then a battery fire starts. The batteries on these buses are distributed throughout the bus underneath the floorboards. They are not all in the engine compartment, away from the passengers.

      In this video, within sixty seconds, the entire bus is on fire, with flames licking through the top. I suppose a bunch of healthy kids can evacuate a bus within 60 seconds, but what about the kid in the wheelchair? What if the fire disables the doors and kids are trapped inside?

      After the immolation of sixty kids, the notion of electric buses will be loudly condemned.


    JohnSmith100 in reply to CommoChief. | June 26, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    Do you understand that there is a large family battery types? Lead acid batters do lose lots capacity at low temps, that is not the same with other chemistry’s.

      CommoChief in reply to JohnSmith100. | June 26, 2023 at 6:08 pm

      EV batteries as currently deployed require heating at start up and while driving in cold temps to keep them operational. Cold weather also inhibits recharging time and efficiency. The other big drain for EV batteries in cold weather is power consumed for the heating the passenger compartment. An ICE vehicle uses waste heat for that.

This was approved by the Dept of Trans? Does the Gay Pride flag stencil have to be on each bus?

Meanwhile, our transportation infrastructure continues to crumble, and another bridge failure dumped a couple of train cars’ worth of chemicals into a Montana river just last weekend. But Butteigeig has other priorities.

Mining lithium for rechargable batteries done on the other side of the world is a dirty business. It requires millions of gallons of diesel fuel, thousands of gallons of lubricating oil, radiator coolant, tires, hydraulic oils, a dozen support vehicles to keep gargantuan earth movers running 24 hours/day. Each can strip mine hundreds of acres of mountain sides every year. The resulting erosion pollutes water tables 100s of miles away. The refining process uses various acids, settlement ponds and millions of gallons of water, forever toxic to plants, animals, and humans.

And the electricty to charge those batteries has to come from someplace.

‘Green energy’ smells a lot like a money laundry scam.

The wheels on da bus go run you over….

And the feelgoods just keep on coming.

In 20 or 30 years electric buses will be the standard. But for for the next 10-15 years it will be money down the drain.

I’ve read about numerous cities in the US and Canada that have attempted to deploy electric buses, and I’m not aware of any successes. Can anyone point to a successful real-world deployment of this tech?

This seems like yet another Solydra-esque boondoggle and grifting scheme to me. You can bet that a bunch of this money will find it’s way to union coffers and become Democrat campaign contributions.

JohnSmith100 | June 26, 2023 at 1:33 pm

In theory electric school buses should be a good match for being used intermittently in through the day, with time for recharging. Most of that off time is when electricity demand is low.

A lot of these problems are incompetent engineering.

Our grid is not in good condition, we should be looking at distributed power, molten salt reactors and solar electric. There is merit to homesteads being power grid independent. Power companies install large solar arrays, then as more efficient panels become available, they upgrade. At one point a bought a bunch of 285 watt panels for $25 each, they tested as new. For those who are willing to build their own systems, Payback can be 2-5 years. The way things are going, those who do not have self sufficiently skills better start acquiring them. Nothing to lose, much to gain by doing so.

inspectorudy | June 26, 2023 at 1:45 pm

I guess they didn’t see the video of 11 battery-powered buses burning in Los Angeles. They were all lined up next to each other while being charged and when one burst into flames it rapidly swept the others into the inferno. I don’t believe for one minute this is for climate change but for the government to have total control over all transportation. They know that most EVs have no range so that will wipe out cross-country travel for most people. They also know in a riot or uprising situation they can switch off all power in any area they wish and within a few hours all vehicles will be motionless. They can mandate the size and speed of any vehicle they choose and standardization will be much easier with all EVs. First the Covid mandates and lockdowns and then on to total control of our transportation. See the picture? First, control of any medical emergency and then control of any large movement of citizens through manipulation of the electrical grid.

    gonzotx in reply to inspectorudy. | June 26, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    Well stated they will park them further apart lol

      JohnSmith100 in reply to gonzotx. | June 26, 2023 at 6:16 pm

      Again, there are different lithium and other battery chemistry’s, not all of them are prone to exothermic catastrophic failure. Lookup LiFePo4, that one is much safer than earlier batteries, I have one that is nearly 60 KwH.

        Gosport in reply to JohnSmith100. | June 27, 2023 at 2:31 am

        Somehow one suspects that there is a hidden “but” in that claim.

        Otherwise why aren’t ‘they’ using these wonder battery chemistries in EVs now?

          randian in reply to Gosport. | June 27, 2023 at 3:35 am

          My bet: cost, charging time, energy density, or temperature range. Probably all four.

          CommoChief in reply to Gosport. | June 27, 2023 at 8:38 am

          Add availability of components needed.

          The next big hurdle for EV is gonna be supplying copper among other things to build them. All the things needed to make an EV are beyond current supply of materials to meet the mandated production numbers.

          Couple this current shortage with opposition to mining the needed materials whether by the WH locking up potential mines as wilderness areas or refusing to issue permits domestically and the mandates are unattainable.

          The EV /renewable energy enthusiasts tend to either ignore real world constraints or if they acknowledge them they place their faith in tech that is either unproven at scale or is only in conceptual / design stage.

    diver64 in reply to inspectorudy. | June 26, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    No…you mean when government has control of our electric houses, electric cars, healthcare and money via digital currency they will control our lives? Who saw that coming

I am a retired Electrical Engineer and this is money wasted. The electric grid cannot handle growth in Electric Vehicles and buses. Many states and areas are having brownouts and blackouts due to the Green Energy View of shutting down Nuclear, Natural Gas, and Coal and go for more Solar and Wind Farms.

Not only is there issues with making power, there is issues with power transmission, charging EVs, and distance driving. EVs and buses also have had issues with batteries catching on fire due to water, salt, and accidents affecting them.

    Paul in reply to JG. | June 26, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    You sound like just another uninspiring, old middle-aged white guy. Don’t bother us with your facts and experience, we have a society to topple with our hairbrained schemes.

    diver64 in reply to JG. | June 26, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Why is your reality intruding on my happy world of free power, unicorns crapping Skittles and rainbows? Back off, Debbie Downer

    JohnSmith100 in reply to JG. | June 26, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    I am also a retired EE, there are people who are charging their electric vehicles from their solar systems. and for short trips and light loads, that is fine. I am in my 70’s, stamina is a problem, and pull starting gas engines is often futile. So now I have a bunch of battery tools, they are adequate for most jobs, not great, but ok. I also have battery packs which allow me to run 120V tools without extension cords.

      inspectorudy in reply to JohnSmith100. | June 27, 2023 at 9:52 pm

      I too have switched all my small gas-operated yard tools over to battery power. It makes a lot of sense for a homeowner who has one yard to tend to. However, when you go to large-scale electric-powered anything, that’s where the problems start. Not high voltage AC power machinery but battery-powered equipment like city buses or construction equipment. Take an old work truck that is still going after several years of hard work. An EV version of that truck, if it has ever been bumped really hard or something dropped from above into its bed, the battery pack could have been damaged. That’s all it takes for the Lithium-Ion batteries to start a very intense fire. The old gas or diesel version wouldn’t even know it had been bumped. Suburban driving is also a fine use of EVs. However, I still do not see how all of the apartment dwellers will be able to charge at night from their multistory apartment buildings.

    The money ulitimately goes into the pockets of democrat politicians.

Add a diesel generator to the electric busses and you reduce power plant emissions too.

In my neck of the woods school was sometimes cancelled in winter because not only couldn’t they heat the building but none of the diesel buses would start. Wonder how these will work in that. Lol, we all know don’t we

    JohnSmith100 in reply to diver64. | June 26, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    You have to preheat a diesel engine to start it in winter. I have a lot of diesel equipment You do not need to heat many lithium chemistries’, as you draw power they heat up internally.

not_a_lawyer | June 26, 2023 at 5:47 pm

Until the government loosens the regulatory rules on nuclear power plant development, provides the utilities from immunity against the green environmental lobby that will harass them with lawsuits every step of the way, and provides loan guarantees for the construction of said power plants, we will know that the green energy movement is merely another scam.


not_a_lawyer | June 26, 2023 at 6:35 pm

There are a lot of good comments here, particularly JG. Everything he says is absolutely true and relevant.

I have no problem with EVs as a concept. If rich people want to spend a lot of money on a new toy, go for it. I can even see how a residential postal fleet might want them, so long as they have the range to travel the entire daily route before recharging. But the increased electrical load on the grid as it is now simply cannot handle them.

But the mandate that all vehicles, or a large fraction of them, become EVs is absurd.

Even if we had a grid fully capable of handling the increased load required by EVs, I would never buy one, simply because the recharge period is onerous. When I go out in my van, I may wish to travel several hundred miles per day. I do not like the ten minutes it takes to refuel it. If anyone thinks I’m going to sit around some recharging station for hours, they are sadly mistaken. I want to get a cup of coffee and go.

Does anyone want their wife to sit at a recharging station in Phillie at night for an hour before she can get home from a late conference or whatever?

The utility of EVs is confined to modest local fleets of not-heavy vehicles and commuter cars where the commuter can make the round-trip on a single charge. Everything else is a non-starter. The notion that we can replace our heavy 18-wheeler trucks with EVs makes me laugh out loud.


Math lesson: Now class, if 1,700 school buses cost $1.7 billion, how much does each one cost?

Political Science lesson: If a fancy ICE school bus costs $200K, how much money-laundering is going on with the preceding tiny piece of the Climate Change graft.

Why? Other than graft, it’s obvious: it’s a one-way trip. They simply don’t have the budget to buy a replacement fleet of diesel buses if the electric ones don’t work out, and would likely take years to do even if they did. I doubt bus manufacturers have the capacity to satisfy more than a fraction of the demand if a bunch of districts abandon electrification.

I saw an electric Amazon delivery van on the back of a flatbed the other day. The delivery people I spoke with hate them, and apparently they cost like $150K. This will be even better when Portland puts their 16sq block total electric zone in play. It includes city hall so I wonder how much stuff will be showing up in a timely manner.