Also during Thursday’s briefing, Gov. Justice took time out from his remarks about COVID-19 to welcome Mark Nestlen, a spokesperson for GreenPower Motor Company Inc.

The Governor has directed West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael to work alongside GreenPower to develop a pilot project to familiarize school districts in the state with electric school buses.

The pilot project will be designed to help school districts take advantage of the federal money that is currently available for the near 100% purchase of electric buses.

“In essence, they can almost get those buses for free. The large school buses will have a $375,000 rebate from the federal government. For the smaller school buses, it’s $285,000. And then they get an additional $20,000 per bus after that to work on charging infrastructure,” Nestlen said. “Governor, with your direction for us to get out there and show the school districts how this will work for them, in combination with this money coming down from the federal government, is really going to do the job of helping move students safely, get them to school, help them learn better, and will achieve more economic growth for the state.

“Again, Governor, I thank you for what you’ve done to make GreenPower feel welcome in West Virginia,” he added.
In January, Gov. Justice announced that GreenPower had signed an agreement with the state to lease/purchase a 9.5-acre manufacturing facility in South Charleston, including an 80,000-square-foot building, where the company will manufacture zero-emission, all-electric school buses, bringing hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact to West Virginia.

GreenPower produces all-electric school buses that are able to run 140 miles on a charge and recharge in as little as 3.5 hours, meaning that these buses will be able to run their morning route, recharge during lunch, and then run their afternoon route.

GreenPower plans to take possession of its new manufacturing facility in August and begin production at its new South Charleston facility in September.

“We appreciate you. We know you’re gonna bring hundreds of jobs to West Virginia. It’s a great opportunity for all of us,” Gov. Justice said. “So we welcome you with open arms. We stand ready to try to help in every way.

“We thank everybody who has put in the licks to make this a reality and we’re anxious to see these buses start rolling off the assembly line,” he continued.