First Student Deploying 8 Electric, Zero Emission School Buses in Montana

April 24, 2024
The school bus purchase represents the first electric school buses to be used by BPS and First Student's first EV deployment in the state

First Student, an operator of electric school buses in North America, is deploying eight new electric, zero-emission school buses in Billings Public Schools (BPS) in Montana to replace eight of the district's diesel buses. 

"Everything we do at Billings Public Schools is focused on creating the best educational experience for our students, and that starts with making sure they get to and from school in safe, clean vehicles that are healthier for them," said Billings Public Schools Transportation Director Lindsay Gran. 

The school bus purchase represents the first electric school buses to be used by BPS and First Student's first EV deployment in the state. The electric school buses will begin rolling out at the end of April 2024 and will help transport hundreds of students throughout the district. 

"Electric school buses are revolutionizing the bus ride for students, and First Student is proud to be paving the way for a greener school transportation system for Billings Public Schools," said First Student Head of Electrification Kevin Matthews. "Every EV that is deployed has an immediate impact on reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality and creating a healthier environment for students and communities."

A $3 million grant from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality covered the cost of the buses and charging infrastructure, and Northwestern Energy helped with the installation process.

"DEQ provided $3 million to the Billings School District to purchase eight electric buses in an effort to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions that can lead to respiratory illnesses such as childhood asthma," said DEQ Energy Bureau Chief Ben Brouwer. The buses, using funds from the Volkswagen settlement, help to improve air quality for Montana students.

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

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