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EGLE-funded electric school buses transporting students once again

Debbie Swartz (l) at Three Rivers electric school bus event with Trish Rea explaining motor

The electric school buses funded partly by EGLE are transporting students once again, after spending 2020 and 2021 mostly transporting lunches during the pandemic.

EGLE staffer Debbie Swartz joined Mac Dashney, of the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation (MAPT), and State Senator Kim LaSata in Three Rivers in early September to ride one of the district's two Lion Electric school buses and learn about their contribution toward a carbon neutral future.

EGLE's Fuel Transformation Program in 2019 awarded a $4.2 million grant to support the $6 million project to purchase a total of 17 electric school buses and charging stations in seven school districts across the state. The program is financed through dollars allocated to Michigan via the Volkswagen Settlement. The settlement resolved allegations of excess oxides of nitrogen emissions from passenger vehicles.

"The project represents a unique partnership between the MAPT, seven school districts, utilities and EGLE," notes Swartz. "Eleven Lion Electric and six Thomas Built buses are the first electric school buses in the state and are gaining national attention as 'rolling laboratories' for students, teachers, and community leaders.

"The partners will work to pilot vehicle-to-building and vehicle-to-grid technologies and develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teaching and learning materials for the classroom using data from the electric school buses."

Photo caption: Debbie Swartz (l) at Three Rivers electric school bus event with Trish Rea explaining electric bus motor.

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