Volkswagen is buying an electric bus for Greensboro.
Not exactly, but that is where the money originates for a new electric bus that will be the 17th in the Greensboro Transportation Agency’s fleet
The money is coming from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality from a 2016 settlement of $14.7 billion Volkswagen made with US Environmental Protection Agency. That money was made available by the EPA for vehicle buybacks, infrastructure improvements and environmental mitigation.
Along with the new electric bus, the city will also use some of the grant funds for the construction of a new electric bus quick-charger at the J. Douglas Galyon Depot.
Greensboro wasn’t the only city in North Carolina to get a share of the $92 million in Volkswagen settlement money; Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington and Salisbury also received a portion of the settlement funds granted to the state.
Many school systems in the state also received grants to replace old school buses with new more environmentally friendly school buses, but Guilford County Schools did not receive funding in this round of grants.
The grant awards included:
- $12.2 million for school bus replacements
- $6.1 million for transit bus replacements
- $4.2 million for on-road heavy equipment including refuse haulers, dump trucks and debris trucks
- $1.8 million for off road equipment (ferry repower projects)
- $3.4 million for ZEV DC Fast Charge stations
Greensboro launched its electric bus program with a ceremony in February 2019, although the electric buses actually went on the road in January, making Greensboro the first city in North Carolina to use electric buses in its public transportation fleet.
Greensboro began with 10 electric buses in its fleet, which is now 16 and will be 17 when the one paid for with this Volkswagen settlement grant is delivered.
Although electric buses are more expensive to purchase than diesel buses, former GDOT Director Adam Fischer explained that when the buses were being introduced to the system, over the life of the bus the city would save money on electric buses because of the reduced fuel cost and the much lower maintenance costs for electric buses.