California announces pilot project to clean up its school buses
California officials announced a new project, the Rural School Bus Pilot Project, to deliver dozens of Lion Electric eLion electric school bus school buses to rural school district.
“Thanks to California Climate Investments, thousands of schoolkids in remote school districts across California will be riding in the cleanest-running school buses on the market,” CARB Vice Chair Sandy Berg said. California’s rural and small school districts have some of the oldest, dirtiest-running school buses in the state. The Rural School Bus Pilot Project, administered by the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, is helping to change that.
Officials say that, in total, California Climate Investments will fund about 150 cleaner school buses across the state. These include zero-emission battery electric models and conventional models using renewable diesel. The year-old Rural School Bus Pilot Project, which has received $25 million in cap-and-trade funding, will fund as many as 60 of those new school buses statewide in rural areas of the state, reportedly reducing 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. About 40 of those school buses in rural areas will be zero-emission battery electric.
The new school buses in rural districts represent just one of the projects rolling out across California that are intended to help the state transition to a clean transportation future. The investments support a wide range of next-generation vehicles, including electric school buses in Sacramento, electric yard trucks in Fontana, hydrogen-powered buses in the Coachella Valley, and a fleet of electric delivery trucks for Goodwill Industries in the Bay Area. About half of the investments are for projects or vehicles that are in, or benefit, disadvantaged communities.
The goal is to accelerate the market for the next generation of clean, heavy-duty trucks and buses, both those that run on electricity and on hydrogen. California Climate Investments are designed to help drive down the upfront purchase price of the cleaner vehicles, and as their numbers increase, that cost will drop even further due to economies of scale.
The state is also investing to support the market for zero-emission cars including making them available to residents of low-income communities.
The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.