Repowering Rochester's School Buses and Service Trucks
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are 4% of the vehicles on the road but are 30% of the on-road emissions and use 26% of the fuel. All too often, these emissions and their associated negative health effects disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, the conversion of our transportation sector to one based on renewable energy creates the opportunity for millions of well-paying jobs. Saunders Energy Holdings, based on Rochester, NY is teaming with Matthews Buses, the largest school bus distributor in NY and Wrightspeed, Inc., the California-based leader in heavy duty electric powertrains, to outfit Matthew's East Avon, NY production and service facility to cost-efficiently repower existing internal combustion engine truck and bus fleets into clean, sustainable, quiet, and economical ones. The project will target conversion of buses and service vehicles that operate in school districts in disadvantaged communities. With Matthews facilities servicing all of NY, the solution has built-in scale.
Using Wrightspeed's powertrain and Matthews' conversion capabilities will accelerate the electrification of existing trucks and buses and avoid having to purchase entirely new fleets. This keeps not only upfront, capital costs down, but also ongoing operating costs due to Wrightspeed's industry leading performance efficiency. Charging and grid integration costs are reduced due to this efficiency. This also means that battery packs are sized smaller because they need less capacity to deliver the same performance and range.
At the end of the day, economics matter; cost effectively electrifying transportation is the most effective and expedient solution to delivering the associated benefits to the local communities in addition to the greater society through emissions reductions. This solution creates local jobs by doing the conversions locally, rather than manufacturing new vehicles elsewhere and shipping them here. Success will look like the end users and stakeholders choosing to replicate this project throughout their fleets, and others in the community witnessing that success and opting to do the same.
There are roughly 500,000 school buses in the US and the "Big-3" manufacturers can collectively only produce ~50,00 new buses of ANY power type in a given year. Repowering exisiting vehicles is the only way to achieve significant electrification over the next 10-15 year. Matthews is uniquely positioned to deliver in NYS because they have contractual options on buses as they come off lease.