Two more California school districts are adding electric school buses to their fleets.
In May, Chico Unified School District (CUSD) added one electric school bus while Brawley Elementary School District (BESD) received three new electric buses — one being equipped with a wheelchair lift.
The Enterprise Record reported that the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District funded a $400,000 grant that made it possible for CUSD to receive the Blue Bird electric school bus, which is the first of its kind for the district.
The electric buses can travel about 100 to 120 miles on a single charge, and cost $16 in electricity to recharge, while it costs about $400 to fill up a traditional diesel fuel tank, according to The Enterprise Record.
John Carver, the director of the CUSD's maintenance and transportation department, told KRCR that the bus "cuts down on our carbon foot print," and "it's easier to maintain and cleaner."
The district will run the bus on the shortest of its 27 routes, according to KRCR.
According to the Brawley Elementary School District newsletter, BESD received a grant from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, California Climate Investments, and the California Air Resource Board for its three Starcraft eQuest XL electric buses, which each cost $400,000, as well as a $5,000 reward for charging stations.
In addition, the newsletter states that each bus holds up to 47 passengers while the wheelchair-accessible bus has a capacity of 42 passengers. The buses also come equipped with air-conditioning, cameras, three-point seat belts, LED lighting, and backup cameras for drivers.
"Everything we do, we do it for the kids,” Freddy Cornejo Jr., manager of maintenance, operations, and transportation for BESD, said of the bus purchases to KYMA. “It’s clean air for the students."
At this time, these are the first electric buses in each district's fleet. However, school officials from both districts report that they will continue to add electric buses to their fleets.