Fowler Unified adds electric school bus to their route

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most of us grew up riding diesel school buses which spit out exhaust.

Those days are over for the kids at Malaga Elementary. They now ride in a brand new electric bus.

"This is absolutely the future of school buses and other mobile source categories where technologies are becoming available," said Air District executive director Samir Sheikh.

Fowler Unified was able to buy the $400,000 bus through federal and state grant funding. The district plans to add eight more buses eventually.

"We're the first in the Central Valley with this size bus that is in operation," said interim superintendent Lori Gonzales. "We're real excited."

Kids don't hear or smell anything inside the bus though there is a slight hum outside.

"Having a zero-emissions school bus is not only good for the community but think about the kids who are riding this bus," said AZ Bus Sales representative Brandon Bluhm.

The electric bus can go 120 miles on a single charge through a standard J1772 plug. It is the same plug used in a Prius or Volt.

Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes is chairman of the Valley Air District Board. He says electric can go a long way in improving our air quality.

"Malaga has a lot of truck traffic," he said. "There's a lot of industrial areas that are in and around. You know, we can hear the train going."

Mendes though would like to see manufacturers improve the range after a charge

In addition to Fowler Unified, Central Unified has two electric buses in its fleet.
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