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Michigan public schools getting electric buses with EPA funds

Bluebird Electric School Bus
Bluebird Electric School Bus  
Bluebird Electric School Bus  

Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Kent Intermediate School District are receiving 30 new electric buses

Michigan transports more than 800,000 students on 17,000 buses each school year. Transportation experts say investing in clean-fueled vehicles will improve air quality and lower costs overall, although the transition is slow with initial costs high. Consider that a traditional school bus costs around $150,000.

“Right now a well-equipped electric school bus costs approximately $380,000 and then you have to add all your chargers and infrastructure onto that which can sometimes run between $25-50,000”.

Christopher Dean is the Director of Innovation for Dean Transportation which will be responsible for 30 new electric buses slated for Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Kent Intermediate School District.

He says most districts currently get these buses through funding opportunities like the EPA grant with supplemental state and local dollars. The fleets will be transitioned over time.

“If we bring in 15 electric school buses into a fleet, under this program, 15 diesel buses have to be retired as part of the project.”

Dean says getting the bus is the easy part.

“The infrastructure, the electricity you have coming into your facility, and of course training and servicing these buses is the hardest part of it.”

Other West Michigan districts awarded rebate funding include Comstock for three buses, Kentwood for four, Three Rivers for two in addition to 15 each for Grand Rapids and the Kent Intermediate School District.

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