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Clark County Schools Preparing New Electric Buses for 2023

The district used about $1.3 million in state grant funding to buy two charging stations and two electric buses, each of which it expects to cost $10 a day in electricity, compared to $50 or $60 a day for diesel fuel.

electric school bus
(TNS) — The 72-passenger, 40-foot-long Thomas school buses have the seating capacity and warm golden hue of a typical, diesel-fueled bus.

But they are electric, which means none of the emissions of its diesel cousins.

That means cleaner air where it matters, "which is around our schools and communities," said Mark Campbell, director of sustainability, energy and environmental services for the Clark County School District's facilities department.

CCSD used about $1.3 million in grant funding from NV Energy and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to purchase the two buses plus two charging stations, located in the district's centrally located bus yard on Arville Street not far from the Las Vegas Strip.

With the new vehicles in hand, CCSD will retire one of its old diesel-engine buses and donate it to the Churchill County School District. Officials say the electric buses are the first for both the district and Nevada.

Amber Rideout, CCSD's director of operations for transportation, said the new buses get more than 100 miles on a full charge and cost about $10 a day in electricity.

According to a proposal to apply for the grant, which the School Board approved last summer, these buses cost $400,000 each new and the charging stations cost more than $500,000. A new conventional diesel bus would cost about $200,000. But a day's worth of diesel fuel costs between $50 and $60, Rideout said.

Transportation staff is training on the operation and maintenance of the new buses, and the vehicles should be put into service in coming weeks.

The district says one of the buses is set to serve students attending Cimarron-Memorial High School, Edythe and Lloyd Katz Elementary School, and Howard Hollingsworth Elementary School. The other is still in the inspection process before hitting the road later this semester.

CCSD plans additional electric buses and charging stations in the near future. In October, the district announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had awarded CCSD a $9.875 million grant toward 25 electric buses and additional infrastructure. Those buses will replace 25 buses purchased in 2010 and 2011.

The electric buses strike a familiar general silhouette, but notably, they have bold blue and black banners printed along their sides that say "zero emissions electric bus."

"Every bus that we add to the fleet will be an incremental improvement" to air quality, Campbell said.

CCSD says it operates the largest school district-owned bus fleet in the nation, with more than 1,500 routes. Buses based out of five yards around the valley transport about 125,000 students a day, according to the district.

©2023 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.