Missouri’s First Electric School Bus Delivered to Knox County R-1 School District

By Echo Menges

Edina, Missouri – Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – The first electric school bus in the State has arrived at the Knox County R-1 School District campus.

The weather has halted in-person classes for the week at the district, however, even frigid temperatures and snowy conditions couldn’t keep KCR-1 Superintendent Andy Turgeon and Bus Maintenance Manager Joe Holman from being at the delivery for the momentous occasion. Travis Mathis, Lewis County REC Manager of Member Services, was also on hand for the delivery and joined in the excitement of the event.

“Echo, this is history in the making. Mr. Turgeon, yourself and I – we’re all living history today. This is the first electric bus in the State of Missouri. If you’ve been paying any attention to what’s in the news, electric vehicles are what is coming. General Motors has said they won’t produce any fossil fuel vehicles after the year 2035. Getting this here in Knox County, getting it here in Missouri – it’s wonderful. We’re excited about it. We’re excited to learn about it. We’re excited to teach people throughout the midwest about it,” said Travis Mathes.

The state’s first electric bus was made a reality after a two-year process of researching, obtaining grants and establishing partnerships with the local cooperative Lewis County REC, Associate Electric, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The total price of this bus was $338,000 and Knox County’s portion of that was $7,500,” said Superintendent Turgeon. Though he does get approached by other districts looking to add electric busses to their fleets, now that the bus has arrived, Turgeon expects more districts will reach out with questions and for advice.

“We’re going to put it on a route next week. So, we’ll start using it next week as soon as we get the license and everything on it. We’ll put it to the test right away,” said Superintendent Turgeon. 

The new LION C electric bus was built by Lion Electric, which is based in Canada. One of the reasons this bus was chosen was its ability to stand up to frigid temperatures.

On delivery, the bus was started, warmed up and driven from the trailer bed a short distance to the nearby bus barn by Superintendent Turgeon. Bus Maintenance Manager Joe Holman was eager to get it cleaned up from the long journey to Knox County and take a closer look at its operational systems.

Ahead of the bus arrival, an event including district students and staff was planned then postponed when school was canceled for the remainder of the week. That event is expected to be held next week and will be covered by The Edina Sentinel.

A 33-minute video of the bus arrival was live-streamed on the NEMOnews Facebook Page Wednesday morning. The recording is available below.