Central Unified takes the driver seat to improve air quality

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That sound and smell of exhaust from a school bus that runs on diesel is being phased out in Central Unified. (KFSN)

By the end of January, two new electric buses will be taking students to and from school.

Brandon Bluhm from A to Z Bus Sales said, "We expect you know the next five to 10 years for this electrification, adoption to really pick up speed. It has always been something that is oh this is kind of down the road, down the road. We're now down the road we're here. So we've arrived."

Central Unified worked with A to Z Bus Sales and Blue Bird to purchase the busses that were paid for with grant money.

The cost of each bus is 400,000 dollars.

The district will only need to cover the sales tax but expects to get that money back by not having to pay for diesel.

Central Unified Director of Transportation, Bob Morse said, "We're at net zero on our utility. We have solar panels that will recharge these buses so we are not using any fossil flues, no tailpipe emissions."

The busses will only need six to eight hours for a full charge and can travel up to 100 miles.

"This is something that is not necessarily new but the technology has advanced so much over the last several years that we are finally able to get to the range that makes sense for a school district," Bluhm said.

Friday morning Central Unified invited other school districts for a test ride. Many were surprised by the smoother and quieter ride and that will be a major adjustment for some drivers.

James Macias said, "It is going to be a process of driving a quiet bus not knowing it is on. Other than a diesel hearing that loud engine as you are driving down the highway or down the roads."

Central Unified expects to phase out nine diesel buses and purchase two more electric ones in the near future.

Related Topics:
educationair qualityelectric vehiclesschool buscentral unified school districtFresno County
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