In May 2017, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and its partners unveiled the first six of 29 electric school buses — what will be the largest electric school bus deployment in the U.S. — at a press event in north Sacramento.
This zero-emission fleet, funded with Cap-and-Trade dollars, was made possible by $7.5 million CARB grant and $7 million in cost-share funds from partners. It will serve three Sacramento county school districts.
Students at the Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy in the Twin Rivers Unified School District were excited to ride one of the buses at the unveiling. “It was fun. It was smooth. It was very quiet, which I like, and I love the air conditioning,” student Leyla Harris said at the time.
Along the way, the students learned the buses don’t pollute the air.
“I think that we should have more buses like this,” Leyla added, “Because my little sister, she has asthma and I don’t want her to have an asthma attack off of this stuff. So electric buses will be good,” she said, with a smile.
The 29 electric school buses will serve students in the Sacramento City, Twin Rivers, and Elk Grove Unified School Districts. Most of the routes run through disadvantaged communities, or those most impacted by air pollution, reducing harmful diesel exhaust in those neighborhoods and protecting children’s health.
“When we think about these buses, it’s both about the kids who ride on them, but also … it’s about the people who live along the school routes,” California State Senator Richard Pan said at the press event. “Having these buses not emit particulate pollution as they’re going down the streets of this community is something that’s very important.”
“This is proof that Cap-and-Trade dollars not only sound good on paper, but they make a difference in communities,” added California State Assemblymember Kevin McCarty.
So far, eight eLion electric buses serve students in the Twin Rivers district and two more Trans Tech Bus buses will soon be on the road there. Both the Elk Grove and Sacramento City districts are installing charging infrastructure. It is anticipated that all 29 buses will be deployed by this fall.
CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said the fleet of electric school buses is “additional proof that zero-emission transportation is growing rapidly in California.” The buses “will help to improve the air quality in areas where our children study and play,” he added.