UniteGPS – District officials from Modesto City Schools in California recently approved the purchase of 30 electric buses in a bid to reduce both their carbon footprint and annual fuel costs by nearly $250,000.

More electric buses are coming to California

“These initiatives will not only provide sustainability but also stability,” said Associate Superintendent Tim Zearley during the recent board meeting, excited to make Modesto a leader in sustainable projects throughout the San Joaquin Valley. 

Sponsored with over $6.3 million worth of voucher funds from the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), this announcement in Modesto exemplifies how California leads the nation in electric school bus (ESBs) implementation thanks to strong state support. 

Electric buses in California

A recent index reported that California possessed 850 of the 1,738 ESBs operating in the country as of September 2021, dispersed among 177 school districts plus three third-party vendors. The state of California recently purchased 140 ESBs from the Malaysian-based company, Gemilang International Limited.

Seeing how California invested over $110 million to transition school bus fleets in 2021, the report claims that state-sponsored funding ultimately plays the most essential role in ESB deployment. In addition to the HVIP, ESB funding programs in California include the Rural School Bus Pilot Project, School Bus Replacement Program, Clean Mobility Schools Pilot Project, Community Air Protection Program, as well as Energy Infrastructure Incentives for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles.

Despite costing two to three times more than a standard diesel school bus, supporters say that ESBs cut down on both fuel and maintenance costs without using diesel. Moreover, if each of the 500,000 school buses operating today in the United States went electric, districts could cut 2.1 million annual tons of carbon dioxide.

More school districts across the nation will likely make the transition over to electric school buses following The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in November, reserving $5 million to assist districts in obtaining low or zero-emission vehicles.