New electric buses create cleaner air for desert students

The Mojave Desert AQMD recently helped administer grant funding for the purchase of electric school buses at Adelanto Elementary, Apple Valley Unified and Lucerne Valley Unified school districts. Shown in this image, taken Monday, Aug. 25, 2020 at the Adelanto Elementary School District office, from left to right: MDAQMD Executive Director Brad Poiriez; AESD Board Trustee La Shawn Love-French; AESD Board Trustee Christine Turner; AESD Board Trustee Christina Bentz; AESD Board Trustee Holly Eckes; AESD Board President Ammie Hines; MDAQMD Governing Board Member and Adelanto City Councilman Ed Camargo; AESD Chief Personnel Officer Andrea Credille; AESD Superintendent Kennon Mitchell; MDAQMD Grants Analyst Jorge Camacho; AESD Transportation Coordinator Ruth Fairley; and AESD bus driver Jeff Hardy.

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– When local districts return to some normalcy, students at three schools will be breathing noticeably cleaner air as they travel on zero-emission buses.

With more than $1.7 million in state grant funds administered by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD), Adelanto Elementary School District has received two battery electric buses with another on the way; Apple Valley Unified School District (AVUSD) has received two; and Lucerne Valley Unified School District has received one.

“Thank you to Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District for making this possible,” said Trenae Nelson, AVUSD Superintendent. “We are excited to have these buses ready for when students come back to campuses and are proud to support the improvement of air quality in the High Desert. We hope to partner in the future on other clean air projects.”

The grant funds, a large portion of which comes from the Community Air Protection Program, covered the majority of the cost of the buses. More funding is committed for the infrastructure to charge and maintain the buses. The funds are part of state incentives created through Assembly Bill 617, designed to identify specific communities most impacted by emissions.

“There’s no better place to show how impactful a project like this can be than in our local schools, where emissions will be significantly reduced, better protecting the health of our most cherished population,” said Brad Poiriez, Executive Director of MDAQMD.

Estimates indicate children who ride a bus to school spend up to 2,000 hours onboard a school bus between grades K–12. By taking older model buses out of service and replacing them with the new battery electric versions, kids will be exposed to nearly 8 million fewer tons of emissions over the next decade. MDAQMD aims to expand the effort, dependent on additional funding.

The zero-emission school buses —the first in the MDAQMD’s expansive jurisdiction — get the equivalent of 26 mpg and can go an average of 120 miles before needing to be recharged. While the emissions are eliminated, these new buses also offer a remarkably quieter ride.

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