It seems counterintuitive in a society that is so hungry for greener transportation options to ask that electric buses be parked until further notice. But alas, here we are.

According to an article in the Kennebec Journal, the issue is primarily with the electric school bus manufacturer, Lion.

The KJ is reporting that state officials have been finding issues with the brand-new buses.

Stop Sign on School Bus

For example, Winthrop Transportation Director, Josh Wheeler, recently told the Superintendent, James Hodgkin, that the buses needed to be parked immediately after a routine inspection and test drive, according to the KJ.

Wheeler said that while he was on a routine test drive, with no children on board, the electric school bus, produced by Lion, experienced a critical failure of the bus's power steering system, according to the KJ.

The newspaper noted that Wheeler said that the failure caused him to have to steer into a nearby snowbank to avoid colliding with oncoming traffic.


According to an excerpt from the Kennebec Journal article,

A number of school districts across Maine, including those in Winthrop, Bingham, Mount Desert Island and Yarmouth, received electric-powered buses at no cost through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program, which is working to make 75% of the public school bus fleet electric by 2035. The districts agreed to turn in one diesel-powered bus for each electric bus received.

The newspaper reported that school districts across the state of Maine began reporting issues with the new electric buses sometime last fall, however, officials say the problem is becoming worse.

Shiny School Bus

In addition to the power steering issue wheeler reported, other districts say that the buses are showing signs of wear and tear that they would expect to see on much older buses that have many more miles on them. Several of Maine's electric school buses still have less than 1,000 miles on them since they were delivered, according to the KJ.

Supervisor of the state Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit, Jason King, told the Kennebec Journal in part,

“These types of defects found are usually not on a brand-new school bus, but are issues that might be noted during an inspection of a seasoned school bus while in service.”

It's worth noting that while these school districts have to pull their Lion electric school buses from service while they're thoroughly inspected and fixed, Lion Co. is responsible for paying the rental fees for temporary buses.

Each Lion electric school bus has a price tag topping $345,000.

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Gallery Credit: Jordan Verge

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