First Electric School bus in Monterey County – Santa Rita Union School DistrictThomas Paddon
The Santa Rita Union School District took delivery of the first all-electric school bus in Monterey County. The bus was paid for by grants from the Monterey Bay Air Resources Board and the HVIP Program which is administered by CALSTART. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on January 30th. Salinas mayor Joe Gunter and councilmember Steve McShane came out for the celebration which included an electric school bus tour.
The Type C electric bus is a 2016 Model B1, manufactured by E-Lion of Canada, and can fit up to 64 passengers. The bus is powered by an electric motor with a 135-kilowatt capacity and a driving range of 100 miles at full charge. Most of the body panels are made of carbon fiber which makes it lighter than a comparable diesel bus. There are 5 batteries situated between the frame of the bus for added safety.
A level two charger was installed to charge the bus during the day when school is in session. This setup is ideal to tap the excess electricity produced by the solar arrays that have been installed over the parking lot.
“The zero-emission bus produces no harmful diesel exhaust particulates, no smog producing air pollutants, and no green-house gas emissions, which ultimately protects the health and safety of students,” said Air Pollutant Control Officer, Richard Stedman. This bus costs just $.17/mile to operate compared to $.85/mile for a comparable diesel bus. Stedman estimates this bus will save the school more than $10,000 in fuel and maintenance costs each year.