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Salt Lake City School District Investing in Electric School Buses

a district school bus

Four electric school buses will soon be traveling the roads of Salt Lake City. They will be the first in Utah, and thanks to a second grant awarded to Salt Lake City School District, more will be coming.

The district recently received a second grant from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality after receiving its first grant in November 2018. The two grants, totaling more than $1.5 million, will be used to purchase several electric school buses, allowing the district to retire some of its older diesel-powered buses.

The district’s fleet manager, Ken Martinez, hoped the first batch of electric buses would have been delivered earlier, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the supply chain for the parts needed to build the buses. However, things are moving forward now, and Martinez says he expects the first four buses to be delivered during March and to begin transporting students the first week of April, right after Spring Recess.

The electric school buses do cost more than traditional buses, but Martinez says the higher purchase price will be offset by savings in fuel and maintenance costs. The real benefit he says is the environmental impact. The electric school buses are zero-emissions vehicles and are extremely quiet.

The first four buses will be used to transport students in the Rose Park area. This specific area was chosen because environmental studies show Rose Park has some of the highest levels of pollution in the state, and Martinez says the bus routes in the area will allow the district to utilize the buses to their full potential.

There is a growing market for electric vehicles, and Martinez is excited to be at the forefront of this new technology for schools.