Boulder Valley School District and West Grand School District 1-JT are the first school districts in Colorado to receive electric school buses.
Each district purchased one electric bus after securing grant funding through the Regional Air Quality Council’s ALT Fuels Colorado program, which is backed by the state’s share of Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds, according to the program’s website. Boulder Valley School District purchased one electric bus using a $209,000 grant distributed during the state’s first round of VW funding in 2018, while West Grand School District 1-JT landed $301,345 in funding for one electric bus during the state’s third round of VW funding in November 2019.
On March 4, Boulder Valley School District welcomed its first Blue Bird Vision electric bus to its fleet, according to a news release from the school bus manufacturer. The ALT Fuels Colorado grant, which helped cover the cost of the bus, reportedly also helped secure a level two charging station for the district, according to Blue Bird.
Landon Hilliard, Boulder Valley School District’s alternative transportation coordinator, said in a news release from the district that it looks forward to "putting [the electric bus] through the paces as a showcase of cleaner, cheaper, and healthier student transportation."
“We’ve been serving this area for 34 years and will continue to assist our school districts as they pave the way toward a clean transportation future,” Jeffrey Koza, owner of Colorado/West Equipment, the Blue Bird dealer that connected the district with its first electric school bus, said in the release from the school bus manufacturer.
Maintenance for Boulder Valley's electric bus will be supported by multiple service centers in Colorado with trained experts, according to Blue Bird.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Kremmling-based West Grand School District 1-JT celebrated the delivery of its first Blue Bird Vision electric bus during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at West Grand High School, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.
In addition to receiving funding from the ALT Fuels Colorado program, West Grand School District 1-JT secured contributions from two electric utility companies, Mountain Parks Electric and Tri-State Generation and Transmission, to cover the cost of the bus and the necessary charging infrastructure, Mountain Town News reports.
Darrin M. Peppard, the district’s superintendent of schools, told the news source that he credits much of West Grand’s electric bus adoption to Mountain Parks Electric, which informed the district about VW funding opportunities, and Boulder Valley School District, which held an electric bus demonstration. The electric bus for West Grand is expected to go into service in early April, according to Mountain Town News.
View photos of West Grand School District 1-JT's electric bus, posted on the district's Facebook page, below.