At the beginning of 2020 the District applied for and was selected to receive a Washington State Department of Ecology School Bus replacement grant for the purchase of three electric buses.
Since being selected, three charging stations have been installed at the District’s Transportation building and three electric buses have been received.
The new Blue Bird electric buses produce zero emissions and replace diesel buses which on average emit 23 tons of greenhouse gases per bus per year. They can travel up to 120 miles on a single charge, depending on terrain and driving habits. The electric buses will also decrease fuel and maintenance costs for the District, including no engine oil changes, no engine air filter change, no smog check/testing, no spark or glow plug, or coil replacements, no transmission maintenance, longer brake pad change intervals, and fewer coolant changes.
Districts were invited to apply for up to three buses, with the Department of Ecology grant covering the difference in cost between an electric bus and a regular diesel bus. Electric buses cost nearly $400,000, while diesels buses cost about $150,000. The grant also allowed up to $50,000 per bus for installing infrastructure required for charging stations. The electric buses are expected to be put into service when Kindergarten students return to buildings according to the District’s staged-approach.