Eighteen southern California school districts will receive funds from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for up to two electric school buses each and charging infrastructure. Shown here is an eLion electric school bus.

Eighteen southern California school districts will receive funds from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for up to two electric school buses each and charging infrastructure. Shown here is an eLion electric school bus.

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — More than a dozen school districts here will soon receive funding from the state to add electric school buses to their fleets.

On June 2, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) unanimously approved $8,844,000 for 33 electric school buses and charging infrastructure that will be distributed to 18 southern California school districts, documentation from the management district shows. Fifteen of the school districts will receive two electric school buses, and three districts will receive one bus.  

The buses that the schools can purchase must be Type C or Type D buses, included on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) approved list (such as GreenPower’s Synapse 72 Type D school bus and Lion Bus’ eLion), have a minimum battery range of 60 miles from a single charge, and have a battery warranty of at least five years. Districts will not be required to replace older buses when purchasing the electric buses.

One of the criteria for districts to receive the funding for the buses was that they be located in areas that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, according to management district documentation.
A total of 51 public school districts and two private charter schools had applied for the funds, requesting 295 electric school buses.  

One of the awarded districts, Coachella Valley Unified School District, will receive $536,000 for up to two electric school buses and charging infrastructure. Apolonio Del Toro, the district’s transportation director, told The Desert Sun that the district faces transportation hurdles because of its considerable size and low-income student population, and “looked at this as a good opportunity to add to the fleet and to reduce emissions.”

News of these awards follows an announcement in May that three school districts in northern California are receiving electric school buses with assistance from a state grant.

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