Battery powered vehicles and infrastructure would be covered by grants

Taft Union High School is exploring the possibility of replacing some of their old diesel school buses with electric ones.

Chief of Business at Taft Union High School is exploring the feasibility of replacing some of it's old diesel school buses with electric ones.

Chief of  Business Official, Josh Bryant said "the new battery-powered buses and the infrastructure to support them will all be covered by grants if the District opts to make the switch."

In a written report to the Board of Trustees, Bryant said the District was contacted by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Lion Electric Bus Co. about the new buses.

Bryant said he's working with MOT Director Rocky O'Neill and Greg Davis from the transportation shop to decide if this is a feasible solution.

If the electric option is chosen, the buses can be used for both daily local routes and to most league athletic contests since they can travel up to 150 miles on a full charge.

The grant funding makes this an attractive option, even though electric buses are much more expensive ($350,000 to $400,0000 each) than diesel buses (about $200,000 each), but Bryant said there are some questions to be answered.

"One concern is the electric variant is the replacement cost of the batteries as they become unusable," Bryant wrote.

Each bus is powered by two batteries costing about $25,000 each.

Bryant was told the batteries are guaranteed for 8 years and can last for 10 to 15 years.

He said the District will have an opportunity to test the buses in September of October.