GreenPower Motor Company has signed a lease/purchase agreement for a manufacturing facility in South Charleston, West Virginia, where it will produce electric school buses. The 9.5-acre property includes an 80,000-square-foot building. GreenPower plans to begin production at the facility by the second half of 2022.
As part of the agreement, the state will provide up to $3.5 million in employment incentive payments to GreenPower.
“The state has agreed to facilitate the purchase of a minimum of $15 million in zero-emission GreenPower school buses produced at the facility,” said Brendan Riley, President of GreenPower. “West Virginia has shown us that it is a pro-business state that has a workforce ready to take advantage of clean energy jobs. As West Virginia’s economy expands and diversifies, it is important to provide skilled and high-skilled jobs to West Virginia workers for a 21st-century economy. Our facility will provide both training and immediate employment opportunities with a competitive wage.”
“West Virginia is ideally positioned to lead the nation in transitioning to electrification of the transportation network, battery research and development, and environmentally sustainable vehicles,” said Mitch Carmichael, West Virginia’s Secretary of Economic Development.
“Most importantly to the city’s future is the kind of company GreenPower is,” said South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens. “This is a 2022 and beyond company with a sustainable product for the long run.”
States are always happy to welcome providers of manufacturing jobs, and electric school buses have an additional selling point—freeing schoolchildren from breathing noxious fumes.
“Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have faster breathing rates,” said Brendan Riley. He cited studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council which have estimated that school bus diesel fumes expose children to as much as 46 times the cancer risk considered significant under federal law. Exposure to NOx exhaust is known to trigger respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis—and the primary source of NOx is motor vehicles.