Posted on

Edgar School District unveils new electric bus

Edgar School District unveils new electric bus Edgar School District unveils new electric bus

By Casey Krautkramer

People who gathered outside the Edgar School District’s new electric bus last Wednesday didn’t realize that the bus had been running the entire time, because there was no noise. The bus ride they took was just as quiet.

Nine people, mostly consisting of district staff and board of education members, rode the district’s new electric bus last Wednesday during a special ride open to community members.

Corey Mueller, school board president, along with fellow school board member Rebecca Normington rode the electric bus. Rebecca Normington’s husband, Tom Normington, joined her on the bus ride.

The district’s administration team of Cari Guden, schools superintendent; Michael Wilhelm, middle and high school principal and Lisa Witt, elementary school principal, also rode the electric bus. Katrina Penney of Athens, who is shadowing Witt, joined her on the bus ride. Penney is an administrator/ principal practicum student at Western Governors University.

See ELECTRIC BUS/ page 3

SEEING EDGAR’S ELECTRIC BUS FOR THE FIRST TIME- Edgar Board of Education member Rebecca Normington is shown last Wednesday by the door of the electric bus asking questions to Jim Day, bus sales manager at Ascendance Truck Center in Marshfield (formerly Mid-State Truck). Other people pictured by the electric bus, from left to right, are: Mary Kay Adamski and John Fischer, siblings who are co-owners of Fischer Transportation in Fenwood, Edgar community member Tom Normington, Edgar schools superintendent Cari Guden and Edgar Board of Education president Corey Mueller.


Continued from page 1

Mary Kay Adamski, co-owner of Fischer Transportation in Fenwood, rode on the bus to answer any questions Edgar staff and school board members had about the electric bus. Jim Day, bus sales manager at Ascendance Truck Center in Marshfield (formerly Mid-State Truck), also rode the bus to answer people’s questions. He said the electric bus was manufactured by Navistar in Tulsa, Okla., and hauled to Wausau.

The district partnered with Navistar and Fischer Transportation to apply for a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant for rural low-income school districts, which covered the cost of the bus and a charging station at the bus garage.

Day told people on the bus ride there are two battery packs on Edgar’s electric bus that allows it to travel 90 miles on one charge. He said some school districts have an additional battery pack on their electric buses, which allows them to travel an additional 60 to 65 miles on one charge. Day said there is an eight-year warranty on the batteries.

Adamski said Edgar’s electric bus is one of the school district’s fleet of seven school route buses and a minibus. The electric bus replaced an aging diesel bus in the fleet. Although the electric bus is currently not being used to transport Edgar’s sports teams, she said it could transport them to nearby towns like Athens and Marathon. Adamski also said an extra heater was installed on the bus to help keep students warm in the winter.

Adamski’s brother, John Fischer, co-owner of Fischer Transportation, drove the electric bus from Edgar Elementary School in a loop west of Edgar. He traveled on STH 29 west of Edgar, where Day told bus riders the electric bus could only reach a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour, which is the speed limit on most state highways. He said it would be fine if the bus only traveled 65 miles per hour if it was ever driven on Interstate 39 south of Wausau, where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, because most trucks on the interstate only travel 65 miles per hour anyway in the slow lane of traffic.

Fischer turned the electric bus onto CTH M south to CTH N and back into Edgar. Day told riders that the battery pack in it recharges every time Fischer steps on the brake pedal, which he didn’t need to do in order to stop the bus. There is a learning curve for driving an electric bus because Fischer simply eased off the accelerator in enough time for the bus to come to a halt at the stop sign at the intersection of CTH M and CTH H without needing to step on the brake pedal.

The Edgar School District estimates it will save approximately $5,000 a year by not buying diesel fuel for the electric bus. The electric bus will also reduce maintenance costs since there is no oil, air filters or spark plugs to change and no transmission to maintain.