Due to malfunctions and failed inspections, several electric school buses were out of service in Maine

WINTHROP, Maine — Maine school systems selected to participate in a federal grant, the Clean School Bus Program, are having problems with new electric school buses in their fleet.

Four 4-electric school buses are out of service in the Winthrop School District.

One of the first disruptions occurred last winter. A school bus driver was driving one of the electric buses with some elementary school students on board. The bus suddenly stopped working. Winthrop Superintendent Jim Hodgkin says the driver was able to bring the bus to a stop on the side of the road because it was traveling at a low speed.

Hodgkin says the buses were sent to Quebec, Canada-based Lion Electric for maintenance. He says it took three months for them to come back.

Once the electric buses were back, they had to be inspected by the Maine State Police. Hodgkin says all four electric buses failed police inspections. Problems include, but are not limited to, heating and emergency exit problems.

Hodgkin says, “Our director is organizing a meeting between the state police and the Lion Electric engineer to discuss why the buses failed.”

Yarmouth's superintendent says his district hasn't been able to use its Lion Electric school buses for three weeks. Problems include serious battery failure, faulty compressors and a power outage.

The superintendent for Bingham and Moscow in Somerset County says they have had no problems with their electric school bus used for daily transportation.

The schools did not pay for these electric buses. They have been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to participate in the Clean School Bus Program. For every electric school bus the district received for free, it traded in a diesel bus.

Hodgkin has scheduled a meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to find out what the district can do with the four out-of-service electric buses in Winthrop.

Hodgkin said there will be no impact on student transportation in Winthrop, with Lion Electric covering the rental and fuel costs for three additional diesel buses.

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *