Thanks to companies like Proterra, electric buses have evolved beyond the prototyping phase of development, and are now being used by municipal transit services in a number of major cities. Soon, they may even be coming to a school district near you.
In Southern California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District recently approved the purchase of 33 electric school buses for $8.8 million in a unanimous decision. The buses offer a range of at least 60 miles per charge, and cost roughly $250,000 each. These zero-emission buses will be distributed to 18 school districts throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area.
The purchase was made in conjunction with the statewide low-emission school bus program which has provided nearly $300 million in state and local funds to replace aging school buses in California with new models that run on alternative fuels such as natural gas and electric. Earlier this year, 29 electric school buses were deployed in the Sacramento area as well.
The LA school districts that received the electric buses were chosen based on a number of different criteria, including the local impact of air pollution in the area. Schools in heavily-polluted districts got first pick at the buses, while schools in areas that aren’t as polluted will have to wait for their new buses. Over time, state officials hope that the new low and zero-emission school buses will help to reduce air pollution in Los Angeles, and ultimately improve the health of local students.
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